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I Have Underinsured Motorist Insurance, Don’t I?
In my over 25 years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I have had to break the news to many clients that while they may have Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage on paper, they actually have no additional coverage. An individual takes out Underinsured Motorist Coverage to help cover their damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) should the tortfeasor (in this case the driver that caused the accident) not have enough liability coverage. For example, if the tortfeasor has $100,000/$300,000 limits, their insurance company will pay up to $100,000 per individual but not more than $300,000 per accident. If your damages are $500,000, you can only collect $100,000 from the other driver’s insurance company. That is where UIM coverage comes into play. If you have UIM policy limits of $100,000/$300,000 most people would believe they get another $100,000 from their own UIM coverage. Wrong. Wisconsin allows your insurance company to reduce their coverage in most circumstances by the amount you receive from the tortfeasor’s insurance company. In the end, you get $0.00 from your UIM coverage. This is called “illusory” coverage but is allowed in Wisconsin.
Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you know what you will actually be eligible to recover if you are injured by an underinsured driver. Contact your insurance agent and ask about your UIM coverage. While you are at it, make sure to ask about Uninsured and Umbrella coverage as well as your agent can offer other affordable options. You may find that substantially increasing your UIM policy limits is not as expensive as you may think. Should catastrophe strike, you and your family should receive adequate compensation for your damages.
Please contact Bosshard | Parke Ltd. to schedule a consultation. 608-782-1469.