State law mandates that automobile insurance carriers provide uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, commonly referred to as “UM coverage”, in an amount equal to the bodily injury limits contained in the policy. By way of example, if the person buying insurance has coverage in the amount of $100,000.00 for bodily injury caused to others, state law requires that the auto insurer also provide $100,000.00 in coverage for injuries sustained by the insured and the people in his or her vehicle for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured person. Uninsured coverage provides coverage for the injury victim when involved in an accident caused by a person who is uninsured. Uninsured also includes situations where the person who caused the accident has a policy but there is no insurance coverage due to some breach in the agreement between the person who caused the accident and his or her insurance company. A person is considered uninsured also when the injury is caused by a person who is not identified, such as in the situation in a hit and run accident.
Underinsured motorists coverage applies in situations where the person who caused the accident has insurance but his/her policy limits are not sufficient to reimburse the injury victim completely for his or her injuries. By way of example, the person who caused the accident may only have $25,000.00 in bodily insurance coverage while the injury victim may have lost wages and medical bills exceeding $100,000.00. The $25,000.00 policy in this situation would not be sufficient to compensate the injury victim completely. In such a situation, the injury victim may seek to recover from his or her insurance company within the policy limits of their UM coverage. For example, in the situation where the injury victim’s damages are worth $300,000.00 but the person who caused the accident only has $25,000.00 in bodily injury coverage, if the injury victim has $300,000.00 in UM coverage, he or she may receive a $275,000.00 from his or her UM coverage which is the extent of their policy limits less the $25,000.00 received from the person who caused the accident.
If you have any questions regarding your car, motorcycle, truck or other automobile injuries, please contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.