Uninsured Motorist Coverage - How Important Is It?

Written by on 7/19/2011 6:14 PM . It has 0 Comments.

A personal story from Julie Sweeney, manager of our Tustin office.

Do you know what uninsured motorist coverage is? Or better yet, do you know how much coverage you have, or if you have coverage at all?

Let me tell you a story… It was Easter time, my dad drove my brother back to the base at Camp Pendleton after a family dinner.  On his way back home to Orange County, he was rear ended by a drunk driver, driving at over 100 mph.  The last thing that my dad remembered was seeing his car veer toward the center divider.

He woke up in the hospital a lucky man.  He was alive, but with significant injuries, including several cracked vertebrae--a broken neck.  He would spend several weeks in the hospital and months at home in a hospital bed recovering.

They did catch the driver of the other car, and he was jailed for drunk driving.  But, the other driver had NO INSURANCE. Fortunately, my dad did have excellent medical insurance through his work that paid the majority of his medical expenses.  But what about all that time off work?  How do you make the house payment when you’re lying in a hospital bed?

This could have been a tragic tale, but it’s not!  My father worked for an aerospace firm that had excellent benefits, including lots of paid benefit time and disability.  And he had UNINSURED MOTORIST coverage.

You see, your uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t just pay your medical expenses.  It also pays for your time off work, additional expenses, pain and suffering—just as if that other party did have insurance.  But, there are limits.

My dad had higher LIABILITY limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident—that would have paid to the other party if my dad had been at fault.

Unfortunately, his UNINSURED MOTORIST limits were only $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident.  At the time (in the 70’s), this was a very common coverage gap.

So after being off work for 9 months, and going through lots of pain and suffering, my father received a check from the insurance company for $15,000.

Again, this is not a tragic tale.  His disability payments and company benefits combined with the uninsured motorist payout to keep our family of seven afloat until Dad was back at work.

But, how would your family fare in the same scenario?  How close would state disability benefits come to replacing your income? Unfortunately, very few employers today offer the same type of benefits that my father was fortunate enough to have.

So, I would encourage you to take a look at your auto insurance policy, or just call our offices and ask, “What are my uninsured motorist limits?  How much would it cost to increase them?”

Make sure that your family is protected when they need it most.


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