What is Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage in Massachusetts?

Most people don’t fully understand what car insurance coverage they truly have until they are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Sure, a lot of people have a basic understanding that their auto insurance coverage will be available if they injure someone in an accident.  But, what about if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by someone else?

With so many different coverage options available, motor vehicle insurance can be complicated. One, often overlooked and not fully understood type of coverage is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (or UIM for short). UIM is insurance coverage that everyone should seriously consider when purchasing auto insurance in order to protect themselves and their family.

Overview of Underinsured Motor Vehicle (UIM) Coverage

Everyone who registers a motor vehicle in Massachusetts must have specific kinds of insurance coverage at an absolute minimum amount. These mandatory types of insurance coverages are known as compulsory coverage. Additionally, there are specific kinds of insurance coverage that are optional for motor vehicles in Massachusetts. One of which is Underinsured Motor Vehicle (UIM) coverage. While UIM coverage is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that everyone review their auto insurance policy to review if they have UIM coverage and, if so, how much coverage they have.

Underinsured motor vehicle (UIM) coverage provides additional insurance coverage for compensation of personal injuries and death from a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else's negligence and the available bodily injury insurance is insufficient to satisfy the value of the claim. UIM coverage is available for you, a member of your household or anyone riding in your vehicle at the time of the crash.

Let’s look at an example: A woman was injured in a car accident in Natick, MA. The crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, but they only had the minimum amount of bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person /$40,000 per accident. The approximate value of her personal injury claim, however, is $45,000.  This means that the person who caused the car crash was “underinsured” and didn’t have enough coverage to compensate the injured woman. Fortunately, she has UIM coverage of $50,000 per person /$100,000 per accident. This means that if her case is worth $45,000, she should be able to obtain the $20,000 from the other driver’s insurance company and have an additional $30,000 ($50,000 of UIM minus the $20,000 BI coverage*) of UIM coverage available from her own auto insurance company to fully compensate her for her injuries and losses. Therefore, if her case is worth $45,000, she should receive $20,000 from the other driver’s insurance company and an additional $25,000 from her own insurance company.

* The amount of UIM coverage available is the total UIM coverage minus the total amount of bodily injury coverage from the at-fault party’s car insurance. In the example above it would be the $50,000 UIM coverage less the $20,000 BI insurance coverage, which calculates to $30,000 of available UIM coverage.

As you can see, auto insurance law can be complex. This is why anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident should speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to determine the value of your accident case, how much insurance coverage is available to compensate you for your injuries and what insurance companies are responsible to pay you the compensation you deserve.

Do you Have Questions About an Accident Case? Speak with an Experienced Injury Attorney in Massachusetts Today

If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced accident attorney in Massachusetts today. The world of auto insurance can be complex. An experienced lawyer can help make sure you get what you deserve for your injuries.

Call Mahaney & Pappas, LLP at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation meeting and case evaluation.