Many people don't understand the importance of uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist Coverage (UM/UIM). This is additional insurance coverage that you can add to your auto policy that will protect you, the occupants of your vehicle and other family members living in your household from a negligent motorist who is driving without insurance or with insufficient insurance. Uninsured motorist protection provides coverage in the event you are injured by a negligent motorist who has no automobile insurance coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage provides additional coverage to you should you be injured by a negligent motorist who does not have sufficient insurance to pay for your damages. In Iowa, motorist are required to maintain auto insurance on any vehicle operated on a public roadway. Of course many motorists on Iowa highways ignore this law for one reason or another. For those motorists who do have auto insurance coverage, Iowa law only requires that they maintain an auto policy that includes bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $20,000.00 per person. This means that in the event you or someone in your family is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and the negligent driver is uninsured or only has minimum liability policy limits, you could be left with unpaid medical expenses, unreimbursed lost wages, costs associated with recovery, etc.
Under Iowa law, you must be offered the opportunity to include UM/UIM coverage by your insurance agent on your auto policy at least for the minimum liability limits required of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per occurrence. Of course, most insurance companies will offer this coverage with limits well above the minimum limits and I recommend that your consider purchasing policy limits much greater than the minimum limits. To exclude UM/UIM coverage from your auto policy, you must sign a written waiver at the time you purchase your auto insurance coverage. Waiving this coverage is not a wise decision. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and can be very beneficial in the event you or a family member is injured by a negligent motorist.
Before one can receive the benefits from an uninsured motorist policy, he/she must first establish that the negligent motorist was in fact, uninsured. Likewise, before one can receive the benefits from an underinsured motorist policy, he/she must establish damages greater than the coverage maintained by the negligent motorist. Furthermore, UIM policies require the policy holder to obtain consent prior to accepting (settling) with the negligent motorist's insurance policy. Failure to properly obtain consent can be a basis for your insurance company to deny you benefits under your UIM policy. We strongly recommend that you consult with a law firm that specializes in motor vehicle accident cases before attempting to settle with a negligent motorists' insurance company.
Our law firm regularly represents clients who have been seriously injured by negligent motorists who either do not have insurance or have insufficient coverage to fully compensate the injured party. Our fortunate clients maintain auto insurance policies which include UM/UIM coverage. We assist our clients with pursuing UM/UIM claims against insurance companies, which includes seeking consent from the client's insurance carrier to accept policy limits from the negligent motorist's insurance company. In order to protect you and your family, sit down today and review your auto insurance policy and make sure you have adequate UM/UIM coverage. Our law firm recommends that you carry auto insurance coverage with no less coverage than $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence.