In the context of auto insurance in New Jersey, UM stands for Uninsured Motorist coverage, while UIM stands for Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage provides protection when you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, which sadly happens a lot more often than most people realize, or if the other negligent driver carries the false “dollar a day” insurance, which isn’t actually car insurance and only protects the negligent driver in very rare circumstances, and provides absolutely no means of recourse for you. Conversely, Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage provides protection when you are involved in an accident with a driver who has insufficient insurance to cover the damages, which is also very common, unfortunately. Many NJ residents don’t know that many NJ licensed drivers carry the bare minimum of bodily injury liability coverage on their auto insurance plans, which is currently $15,000.00, but is scheduled to increase by modest amounts in the coming years after not being increased for decades due to successful, but in this writer’s opinion immoral, lobbying by the powerful auto insurance industry in our state’s capital in Trenton.
For instance, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, your UM coverage will help pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. Similarly, if you are involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, your UIM coverage will help pay for the damages that exceed the negligent driver’s bodily injury liability limits which as explained above, can be minimal at only $15,000.00. Because so many NJ drivers carry basic, minimum coverage of only $15,000 in bodily injury coverage, false “dollar a day” so-called auto insurance which actually doesn’t provide any coverage for any person other than the buyer of the false “dollar a day” policy, or sadly don’t even carry any type of auto insurance coverage at all, it is very important that you protect yourself and your loved ones by purchasing sufficient UM and UIM coverage on your auto insurance policy.
At Gencarelli and Rimassa Law Firm, LLC in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, we advise all of our personal injury clients to carry a minimum of $100,000 per person / $300,000 per occurrence UM and UIM coverage on their auto insurance policy, and even greater coverage amounts if doing so is financially possible. Many times, our clients our surprised to learn from their auto insurance carrier that it actually does not cost much more per year to have $100,000/$300,000 in coverage compared to $15,000/$30,000 in coverage, it’s just that no one, including a private, commissioned auto insurance agent, ever explained this to them. Instead, the narrative that is sometimes pushed onto our clients is the cheapest, lowest cost auto insurance premium that a commissioned auto insurance agent can get for the client, without ever stopping to point out and explain the difference in annual premium costs for reasonably better UM and UIM coverage, such as $100,000 / $300,000 versus $15,000 / $30,000, or $250,000 / $500,000 versus $100,000 / $300,000, again all based upon what one can afford.
The wonderful and most important thing to understand about UM and UIM coverage is that it is coverage that you are paying to protect you and your loved ones – not anyone else. So if possible, and if it doesn’t cost much more money per year, for example, $150.00 more over the course of a year, or 12 whole months, we urge our clients in such situations, which are a lot more common than most realize, to reach for the much better UM and UIM coverage for themselves and their loved ones. The difference is very significant if one actually needs to utilize the coverage after an unfortunate, serious car accident in which physical injuries were sustained. Wouldn’t you rather have $100,000 or $300,000 in insurance money to look at to make you or your loved ones whole, as opposed to only $15,000 or $30,000, especially if doing so may cost a lot less than you realize?
The attorneys at Gencarelli and Rimassa Law Firm, LLC in Lyndhurst, New Jersey hope that you will take a serious look at the UM and UIM auto insurance coverage on your current auto insurance policy and if you only have $15,000 / $30,000 in UM and UIM coverage, or close to it, contact your auto insurance carrier directly about increasing the coverage to a minimum of $100,000 / $300,000 and more if possible. You truly believe you will thank us if the unfortunate circumstance ever arises where you or your loved one have to look to the UM or UIM coverage on your auto policy for financial help in a time of need.