Imagine that you are driving on Highway 90 in Mobile, Alabama when a careless driver swerves into your lane. You react by swerving to your right, and unfortunately you lose control of your vehicle and end up in a ditch with neck and back injuries. The careless driver doesn’t think twice about it and leaves you behind. Obviously this accident is not your fault, but you will experience pain, suffering, aggravation and inconvenience and there will be medical bills too. Are you covered?
You can forget about the other driver’s insurance, even if he or she has any, because that person is long gone and you’ll have no way of knowing how to make a claim on his or her policy. You can also forget about your liability policy. It doesn’t cover your injuries. What you need is something called uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, commonly known as “UM coverage.” In Alabama and many other states, it is available from whichever insurer provides your liability coverage. UM coverage not only provides coverage in the event that the driver at fault is a “phantom” as described above, it also provides coverage if the careless driver has no insurance, or if he or she has some liability insurance, but not enough to fully compensate the claimant.
UM coverage can also be combined and “stacked” in Alabama and some other states as well. This means that if you have more than one vehicle and you have UM coverage on each vehicle, you can make a claim on as many of those policies as is necessary to afford a full compensation for your claim, if they are under different policies. If all your vehicles are under one policy, statutory law may limit the number of policies you can stack. In Alabama, you can also make claims on the UM policies of those with whom you share a household.
If you don’t have UM coverage and can afford to pay a higher premium, it is definitely worth speaking about to your insurance representative.