In Pennsylvania, you are required to purchase several forms of auto insurance before you can legally get behind the wheel. There are also several optional types of insurance - including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, or UM/UIM - that may or may not be in your policy. UM and UIM can provide protection against those drivers who fail to purchase the auto insurance required by Pennsylvania law.
Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
If an uninsured motorist caused your accident and you still need to make up for your accident-related losses even after obtaining benefits through your own policy, having UM coverage can greatly benefit you, your passengers and your family members. Even if the liable driver has some auto insurance, their coverage might not be sufficient to cover the full extent of your damages; this is where UIM coverage can help out.
You might have UM/UIM coverage and not know about it: In Pennsylvania, your policy includes UM/UIM coverage unless you reject it in writing and complete a required rejection form. A recent Pennsylvania appeals court decision illustrates the technical requirements of the required rejection procedures, which can make a significant difference in whether you are compensated for accident-related injuries.
Specific Requirements for Opting Out
In the court of appeals case, a driver injured in a motor vehicle accident requested UIM benefits through her insurer even though she attempted to reject UM/UIM coverage when she purchased her policy. The appeals court found that the insurer's rejection form, which the woman used, was different from the form required by state law. As a result, the case was sent back to the lower court, and the driver might be able to get UIM benefits after all, depending on that court's decision.
You might be able to fully recover for the damages caused by another driver's negligence whether or not you have UM/UIM coverage. Injured drivers should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help pursue all available compensation.