Car crashes happen no matter how carefully you drive, and they are often due to the negligence of another party. In order to protect yourself and your passengers, you will want to ensure that your automobile policy has adequate Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM) and Uninsured Motorists Coverage (UM).
UIM coverage applies when you, or a member of your household, are involved in a crash and the damages exceed the at-fault party’s policy limits. UM coverage applies when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. In Vermont, every auto policy is required to have, at minimum, limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for UIM/UM coverage. The UIM coverage will cover the gap if the at-fault driver has limits less than your own and if the at-fault liability coverage limits do not properly compensate you for the damages you sustained. Not every state requires drivers to have automobile insurance. New Hampshire, for example, has no such requirement. A 2015 study by the Insurance Research Council found that 9.9% of New Hampshire drivers are without coverage. For many of us, traveling between states is necessary, whether for work or errands. The proximity of Vermont and New Hampshire thus puts Vermont drivers at a higher risk of being involved in a collision with an uninsured party. If that occurs, your UM coverage applies.
As a final note, your UM/UIM coverage can apply to a member of your household even if they are not on your insurance policy, as long as the individual has proof of residency. This can be fulfilled with any of the following:
● Driver’s License
● Voter Registration Card
● Financial documents
● Tax returns
● Library Card
● School ID
● Social Security checks
● Civil violations
● Any other official document with the name and address of the individual
In any of these situations, it’s important to be aware that your insurance company may attempt to deny or undervalue your claim. An experienced attorney can help you with this process and will make sure that your claim is properly handled and evaluated. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as the result of another driver’s negligence, please give us a call at (802) 457-4848.