Personal auto Uninsured Motorists coverage

Hi. If I have health insurance, and if I am retired with no earned income, why do I need any more than minimum UM policy limits? Is it for pain and suffering, and does UM really cover that?

And if I have collision, what benefit does UM PD provide except the collision deductible?

I believe that conventional wisdom holds that if you have collision, and if you have a collision deductible appropriate to your financial situation and risk appetite, and if it is not mandatory in the state, UMPD is redundant.

As far as UMBI goes…it does cover pain and suffering. But also keep in mind that there can be significant non-medical, non-income expenses in the wake of a serious car accident.

For example, my wife was disabled after a car accident over 20 years ago. We were renting the second story of a triplex at the time, but the place became uninhabitable for her because of the accident. That meant that we had to move to temporary housing, break our original lease, move again when we found longer-term housing (our current home), and make modifications to our new home to accommodate her needs.

Thanks, Sidekick.

I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s disability.

How does UMBI work in practice? Who decides the pain and suffering amount - your own insurer, not a jury, right? And did your own insurer voluntary pay these additional living expenses?

I have to admit, I’m not certain about how a normal UMBI claim works in practice, since most of my time with auto claims has involved large commercial fleets. I assume that it works similar to a normal BI claim – pass along bills, and at some point when maximum medical improvement has been reached, there’s an evaluation, a discussion, and perhaps arbitration or litigation if an agreement cannot be reached.

In my wife’s case, the medicals, and the lost income on their own were sufficient to exhaust policy limits, and to lawyer up when the adjusters (both we and the other driver had the same insurance…from my then-employer) quit responding after I sent in a demand for policy limits under both policies.

Seven years later, when we finally got in front of the judge for a pretrial hearing…a year after the other driver died in a different car accident…the judge observed that the medical bills had exceeded 2/3rds policy limits, oted that the defendant was judgment proof, and strongly encouraged the lawyers to settle for limits minus 5k (with the 5k being “something to encourage the defense to wrap it up”).

Two checks were cut, one based on the other driver’s BI coverage, the other based on our UM coverage. The lawyer took her cut; the health insurers that had been covering the medicals took the rest as subrogation; my wife got bupkis; and I gained a new appreciation for folks that complain about the claims process or that make “difficult claims”…and the risks of being insured by your employer, and insurers’ needing to have appropriate data security in place in the event that an employee/insured makes a claim that goes to litigation.

In your situation UM coverage could pay for health insurance copays and deductibles

Edit: and collision is generally for when you are at fault, I don’t think you’d want the associated increase rates for something you’re not responsible for