The West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner mandates that drivers in this state carry a minimum of $25,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage. You can request your insurance company to provide you with additional coverage up to the limits of your liability coverage for an additional fee. However, coverage against bodily injury and property damage caused by underinsured motorists is not mandatory. If you do choose to purchase it, the same minimum limits of $25,000 apply.
It can be confusing for West Virginia drivers to keep track of what is and is not required for insurance purposes. Not knowing the difference between various types of coverage can further add to the confusion. This is especially true when it comes to differentiating between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Many drivers assume these are two parts of the same thing when they are completely different types of insurance.
A Crash Course in Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Although all 50 states require drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance, some drivers choose to disregard this requirement to save money. Other drivers have had their policies cancelled for nonpayment of premiums, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or having too many at-fault accidents. In the past, drivers who got into an accident with someone who didn’t have insurance had to go through the courts to seek reimbursement for property damage and medical expenses. When those who sustained injuries or property damage still failed to collect, many states began mandating insurers to provide uninsured motorist coverage.
If you have been in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is unable or unwilling to pay your damages, a claim should be filed against your own insurance company. Wilson, Frame & Metheney is here to help if you find yourself in that situation.
What to Expect from Underinsured Motorist Coverage
When you file a claim for underinsured motorist coverage against your auto insurance, your insurance is legally liable for all damages that exceed the other driver’s liability insurance limits. Many drivers do have insurance, but it’s often the bare minimum limits required by law. This situation is becoming increasingly common, especially in states that have insufficient basic liability requirements. The increasingly high cost of healthcare, substantial lost wages and the expense of repairing vehicle damage makes underinsured driver coverage an important option.
In addition to medical costs and the expense of vehicle repair, uninsured motorist policies provide coverage for lost wages, physical pain and mental suffering. It’s important to note here that your insurance company will only make these payments if the driver of your vehicle was not the at-fault party in the accident. Some people compare having uninsured motorist coverage with having a second health insurance policy that pays expenses the original policy didn’t cover.
Understanding the Different Types of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Insurance companies break these coverage types into bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury covers medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering for the occupants of your vehicle. Coverage applies to passengers in your vehicle at the time of collision as well. Additionally, it may help to cover expenses you incur due to being the victim of a hit and run accident.
The property damage portion of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays the cost to fix your vehicle and any other possessions damaged in the crash, such as a computer or fence. It may also cover the cost of a rented vehicle.
You Should Get What You Pay For
Only you can decide if taking the maximum allowed in uninsured motorist protection and the optional underinsured motorist protection is a worthwhile investment. When you choose these coverages and pay the increased premium, you are entitled to a reasonable settlement from your own insurance company. Wilson, Frame and Metheney can assist you in filing a claim and obtaining a fast and fair recovery.