You may not often worry about it, but you should be aware that there are thousands of uninsured and underinsured drivers traveling on Pennsylvania roadways. An uninsured motorist is a person who has no auto insurance to cover damages he causes in a motor vehicle accident. An underinsured motorist is a person who has limited auto insurance coverage, but the amount of such coverage is not sufficient to cover all the damages he caused in a motor vehicle accident.
The only way to insure that you will be fairly compensated for all injuries and damages you may suffer in a motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured driver or underinsured driver is to purchase a sufficient amount of uninsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage on your own auto insurance policy. Remember, UM and UIM coverage protects you. Therefore, you should make sure you have it. Your auto insurance carrier must allow you to purchase these coverages in an amount up to the amount of your liability coverage (liability coverage is coverage which protects you for damages you cause to others). UM/UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive. In order to adequately protect yourself, you should purchase UM/UIM coverage in an amount equal to you liability limits. Indeed, there is no reason for you to purchase a higher amount of coverage to cover damages suffered by others than to cover damages suffered by you.
Another term you should be aware of when purchasing UM/UIM coverage is stacking. Stacking allows you to exponentially increase your UM/UIM coverage by multiplying the number of vehicles insured on your policy by the stated UM/UIM policy limit amount. In contrast, if you waive stacking, your UM/UIM policy limit is limited to the stated UM/UIM policy limit amount. For example, if you have three vehicles insured on your policy, your stated UM/UIM per person limit is $100,000 and stacking applies, your UM/UIM coverage is $300,000 per person. However, using this same example, had you waived stacking, your UM/UIM coverage would be limited to $100,000 per person. The cost to stack UM/UIM benefits is relatively cheap so you should definitely purchase this coverage in order to adequately protect yourself.
You should periodically check your auto insurance coverage to make sure your coverages are adequate for your current situation in life. If you have any questions regarding what various coverages are or what various coverage amounts should be considered, feel free to contact DLP for a free no obligation consultation.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire