Everyone knows that no matter where you live, you are required by law to have car insurance. Michigan is no exception to this. Also, Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. In Michigan, your no-fault insurance pays all your medical bills in the event that you are injured in an auto accident. So, if you have the minimum required no-fault insurance you have all the insurance you need, right?

Actually, wrong, for a number of reasons. Basic no-fault insurance doesn’t pay to have your car repaired. Nor does it pay if your car is stolen. To cover those costs you will need collision and comprehensive insurance. But beyond those situations you should seriously think about getting uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

Here are some reasons why:

While no-fault insurance covers your medical costs and lost wages without regard to who is at fault, there are some situations in which personal injury claims against the at fault driver are allowed. Suits are permitted in accidents in which there have been a death or severe bodily injury or permanent disfigurement. Essentially, in these cases, the injured party will be allowed to sue to recover pain and suffering damages from the person at fault.

This is fine, as far as it goes, but what happens in the event that the at fault driver is either uninsured, or has insurance with very minimal coverage? The answer is that the injured party gets little or no recovery. UM/UIM insurance bridges any gap between what an injured party is entitled to and the limits of the at fault party’s insurance coverage.

Assume that you are severely injured in an auto accident. Assume further, that a jury finds you are entitled to $100,000 of compensation for pain and suffering. If the driver has only $20,000 in coverage [the minimum required here in Michigan], you will lose any amounts above that figure. If you had $100,000 or more worth of UM/UIM insurance, you would receive the entire sum awarded to you by the jury.

Essentially, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverages are the only coverages that cover you for bodily injury if you are injured, maimed or killed by another driver’s negligence. You may have purchased an expensive policy with $500,000 limits on bodily injury, but, that is the money that your company pays to someone that YOU hurt when YOU cause an accident. It doesn’t help you one bit when someone runs a stop sign and injures you.

The only way to be fully protected in case of an accident is to purchase and maintain underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. Check with your agent right now to make sure that you have the coverage in place to protect you and your family.