You can’t stop uninsured drivers on Michigan roads, but you can better protect yourself against it before an accident happens
Every single time you and your family gets behind the wheel, you’re playing Russian Roulette. There is one uninsured driver out there for every five drivers you see on the roads. In some cities, such as Detroit, it’s as many as 50% of all drivers are now uninsured, according to the Detroit Legal News. And if an uninsured driver seriously injures you, you’re going to be seriously out of luck.
The good news is, there’s a way to at least protect against this danger. Most people do not know why they need “uninsured motorist” (UM) and “underinsured motorist” (UIM) coverage for your car. These two important but largely unknown insurance coverages can help compensate you for injuries caused by an uninsured driver. The good news is, they’re very inexpensive to boot.
First, where does the one in five uninsured drivers number come from? This is according to a recent study by the consumer website WalletHub. In its “2015’s Most and Least Risky States for Drivers’ Wallets,” WalletHub reported:
The “estimated percent of uninsured drivers” in Michigan was 21%.
That means if you shared the road with, say, 1,000 other motorists during your morning commute on I-696, I-275, US-131 or I-94, 210 of those drivers have absolutely no auto insurance coverage.
And that means, if they crash into you and cause an accident, you will receive zero compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering – unless you have “uninsured motorist” coverage.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage and why is it so important?
Sadly, even being insured isn’t much help. As an attorney, I see the vast majority of people driving “underinsured,” with only the minimum insurance liability limits ($20,000/$40,000) required under Michigan law. If any serious injury results from an auto accident, this amount ($20,000) is completely inadequate to fairly compensate anyone hurt in a crash.
So if any of these people crash into you, you may have some protection, but it won’t be enough if you’re seriously injured – unless you have “underinsured motorist” coverage.
For years, I’ve been telling the people I help (which is usually when it’s already too late because they’ve already been injured in a motor vehicle accident) about the importance of having UM/UIM with limits of at least $100,000 (same as their residual bodily injury liability limit).
For more UM/UIM information, please check out the following Michigan Auto Law webpage and blog post:
- “Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Protects You in a Crash with an Uninsured Driver”
- “You need to buy uninsured motorist coverage – NOW”
Tomorrow, I’ll further discuss UIM, delving into how much you need and how much it costs.