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What Underinsured Motorist Coverage is and How It Impacts Your Car Accident Claim

— November 30, 2023

The main mistake most car accident victims commit is that they don’t seek legal help to sue the at-fault party.

Car accidents are a nightmare, whether you’re involved in one or have witnessed one. One moment, you’re vibing to your favorite song and coasting along, and the next moment you’re inside a damaged vehicle, battling for life. Car accidents can completely transform the lives of everyone involved.

It is at times like this, you must stay strong. Lawyer up and take the fight to the at-fault party. Though you cannot go back in time to when the accident didn’t happen, what you can do is file a car accident claim. This will help you get back on your feet and move towards normalcy.

However, there are few challenges in a car accident claim, and one among them is UM/UIM claims.

You’re probably wondering what UM and UIM are.

UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. UM comes into play when you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance. When the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance, acquiring compensation can be difficult. You definitely need a lawyer in such situations.

This article focuses on the second element, UIM. The sections below discuss what UIM is and how it affects your car accident claim.

What is UIM?

UIM is short for Underinsured Motorist Coverage. It does have its similarities with UM, but it differs in one major aspect.

In UM, the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. But in UIM, the at-fault driver will have insurance, but it will be insufficient for your damages.

Take the case of Steve, who was involved in an accident with Carl. Carl was intoxicated while the accident happened and is clearly at fault. Steve hires a lawyer, and his total damages stand at $90,000, including medical expenses and property damages.

The problem here is that Carl’s insurance only covers $25,000. This leaves Steve pending $65,000 in underinsured coverage.

Underinsured motorist coverage is categorized into two types.

  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UIMPD)
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI)

The damage your car suffers is covered under UIMPD. This includes fixing or replacing damaged car parts.

All your bodily injuries and the medical expenses you sustain are covered under UIMBI. You will have to submit the relevant evidence to prove that you suffered these injuries and spent the requested amount on treating them.

Keep in mind that you will have to purchase UIMPD and UIMBI from an insurance company. Another thing to note is that if you have collision insurance, you don’t have to purchase UIMPD or UIMBI.

The Impact of Underinsured Motorist Coverage

As said before, UIM comes into the equation when the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance. UIM is only considered when the liability of the at-fault party is proved beyond doubt. UIM might take a hit if concepts like comparative negligence or contributive negligence come into play. It’s best to consult a lawyer to find out whether you’re eligible for one.

Example of a t-bone accident; image by en:user:Dori, via, public domain.
Example of a t-bone accident; image by en:user:Dori, via, public domain.

For car accident cases where UIM is involved, your insurance company will step in, provided you have UIMPD or UIMBI. In such instances, your insurance company will pay the difference and will get back the sum from the at-fault party.


Things can change in the blink of an eye. A car accident has the tendency to cause irreparable damage to your life. There are also cases where victims lose their lives in car accidents.

The main mistake most car accident victims commit is that they don’t seek legal help to sue the at-fault party. Sometimes, they’re so focused on tending to their injuries and managing finances that they forget about bringing the at-fault party to justice.

This is why car accident victims should hire an experienced lawyer who will handle all aspects of the compensation claim. The lawyer will stand by the victim’s side until justice has been delivered.

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