Suppose you have a personal auto policy with $10,000 of Medical Payments coverage, $250,000 of UM coverage, and your personal umbrella policy includes $1 million of UM coverage. You do have a health insurance policy provided by your employer, but you do not have a disability income policy. One day, you are involved in an accident and are seriously hurt by the at fault party to the point you are paralyzed from the waist down. To make matters worse, the other driver doesn’t have insurance or only carries the state required limit of $25,000 as most drivers have. As a result of the accident, you filed suit against the at fault party and the court ruled in your favor for the following expenses and losses:
- $250,000 for prior & future medical bills
- $320,000 for prior & future lost wages
- $11,000 for a wheelchair & replacements
- $30,000 for a special van to transport you and your wheelchair
- $90,000 for future replacement vans
- $20,000 to retro-fit your house to accommodate the wheelchair
- $30,000 for a yard service since you are unable to cut the yard
- $200,000 for pain and suffering
- $100,000 for the loss of the ability to coach youth basketball
- $200,000 for future loss of the enjoyment of life
Reviewing the coverage you have, you can see that the medical payments coverage are quickly exhausted. If you did not carry the UM coverage on your auto and umbrella policies, you could fall back on your health insurance policy through your employer, but keep in mind that you will likely incur a deductible plus a co-pay each year. Also, once the medical payments limits are exhausted, your wage-loss protection is gone. Without a disability income policy to cover your lost wages, there would be no coverage.
With or without the disability income policy, consider the monies awarded for which there is no coverage, except under Uninsured Motorist. The excess medical expenses, lost wages, wheelchairs, vans, house modifications, yard service, pain and suffering and all the other damages listed above would be covered by UM.
The cost of Uninsured Motorist coverage isn’t always inexpensive, but if you compare the cost of the coverage to what you spend on cable TV, a cell phone or eating out for dinner twice a month, the cost of UM is probably the lowest one listed. Even if you are in the military, retired or have a lot of other insurance coverage, the protection provided by uninsured motorist coverage is very valuable. Do not be so quick to reject this valuable coverage.