Every driver in the state of North Carolina is required to have an insurance policy that meets certain standards. The minimum values required by law, however, are not always enough to make you whole. One of the most essential aspects of insurance is in fact not required by law. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage covers your losses when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance of their own. Especially in more severe crashes, when expenses pile up, the North Carolina minimum liability coverage is far below enough. In this article, we’ll discuss UIM coverage and how it works in the event of an accident.
The specifics vary from state to state, but you must purchase liability coverage and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in North Carolina.
Liability insurance follows the 30/60/25 rule. That is:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $60,000 for bodily injury to two or more people
- $25,000 for property damage
You will first turn to this liability coverage to cover accident-related expenses in a personal injury claim. The at-fault driver’s insurer is responsible for doling out the appropriate amount depending on the facts of the accident. However, in the event of a more severe crash, these figures are far too low to compensate for the devastation.
For example, consider you were involved in an accident where an at-fault driver hit your car and injured three people inside. The most you can get from their insurance policy is $60,000 to split between everyone. It is unlikely that the minimum amounts available from the at-fault driver’s insurance will be sufficient.
Although required by law, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that 13% of drivers nationwide do not have an active insurance policy. For this reason, drivers must also purchase uninsured motorist coverage for instances where an at-fault driver has nothing to provide. The minimum requirements for UM insurance reflect the liability claim minimums. That is $30,000 for bodily injury to one person, $60,000 for the bodily injury of two or more people, and $25,000 for property damage.
State laws do not require North Carolina drivers to have underinsured motorist coverage, but it’s crucial in many personal injury cases. UIM draws from your insurance policy after depleting an at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
Assume that a negligent driver causes a bad collision, and you incur $35,000.00 in medical expenses, $20,000.00 in lost wages, and another $30,000 for pain and suffering. If the at-fault driver only has $30,000.00 of liability coverage, that’s all the insurer will pay for your $90,000 needs. Suppose you have a higher amount of underinsured motorist coverage. It will make up the difference. Assume for this example that you have $100,000.00 of UIM coverage. After the negligent driver’s insurance company disperses the $30,000.00 of coverage, you can claim your policy for the additional expenses and damages not covered by the liability policy. UIM makes up the other $60,000 necessary for your healing.
If you are driving a company vehicle during an accident, your employer may also have a UIM policy. Some companies are insured for up to $1,000,000 on their vehicles. Their policy is yet another source of compensation you may be able to access in an emergency. It’s important to note that an employer’s UIM coverage is separate from worker’s compensation.
Personal Injury Representation
An attorney can help identify all sources of insurance available to you after an accident. Insurers on all sides frequently offer less than what an accident victim needs to heal, and experienced representatives will search for whatever compensation is available.
Reach out to Maginnis Howard for experienced personal injury representation. Our attorneys have obtained millions for clients injured by negligent drivers. You can call us (919) 526-0450 or submit a confidential message through our contact page.