Pennsylvania’s car insurance coverage scheme and policies can be very confusing. Most drivers do not know what type of coverage they have, and what type of benefits the coverage offers. Then, when drivers get in car accidents, they realize that the coverage they have is not adequate to protect them from the injuries and economic damages they sustained as a result of the accidents.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is a type of coverage that drivers need to know about and should have on their car insurance policies.
An injured driver’s UIM coverage comes into play when the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is not enough to cover the injured driver’s injuries and damages.
Let’s say an at-fault driver only has $15,000 liability coverage, and the injured driver has $100,000 UIM coverage. As a result of the car accident in Philadelphia, the injured driver sustains catastrophic orthopedic injuries and requires multiple surgeries. His medical expenses alone exceed the $15,000 coverage from the at-fault driver. In this situation, the injured driver would make a UIM claim with his own car insurance company, up to the UIM limit purchased, to recover the rest of his damages.
UM coverage applies when the at-fault driver does not have liability coverage. If the driver in the above example doesn’t have liability coverage, the injured driver would make a UM claim with his insurance company, up to the UM limit purchased.
What most people do not know is that an insured driver may have a right to “stack” their UIM/UM coverage. If the injured driver is covered by 2 or more UIM/UM polices at the same time, he may add together or “stack” the benefits under each separate policy.
Using the same example above where the at-fault driver only has $15,000 liability coverage, let’s say the injured driver is covered under 2 separate car insurance policies, each with $100,000 UIM coverage. His injuries, medical expenses and pain and suffering exceed $250,000. After recovering $15,000 from the at-fault driver, the injured driver may stack his UIM benefits from the 2 car insurance policies and make a UIM claim. He may recover $200,000 by stacking the 2 policies, rather than $100,000 under 1 policy.
However, it is important to note that stacking is only permitted if the injured insured falls under a limited class of insured defined by the car insurance policy. To learn about the 3 classes of insured drivers who can stack UIM/UM benefits, see Who Qualifies For UIM/UM Stacking After A PA Car Accident?
If you or a loved one was in a car accident in Philadelphia, PA or the surrounding areas, feel free to call Dan O’Brien, an experienced car accident lawyer to schedule a free legal consultation. 877.944.8396