Kentucky law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in auto liability insurance coverage. Although most people do have auto insurance, many do not purchase more than the minimum amount required. Underinsured motorist coverage (also known as “UIM” coverage) applies when the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover all of your injuries.

Car accidents often result in serious injuries, such as broken bones, back, neck and spine injuries, and severe head trauma. These injuries often require expensive medical care, including emergency room treatment, hospital admissions, surgery, x-rays, CT and MRI imaging and physical therapy. The medical bills alone often times can exceed your PIP benefits and the $25,000 in liability insurance coverage the at-fault driver might have. And that is before your pain and suffering and lost wages damages are even considered. UIM coverage kicks in to provide you with additional compensation once the at-fault driver’s insurance is exhausted.

UIM coverage is a benefit provided to you by your own insurance company. Unlike uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is not required to offer UIM coverage to you when you buy your liability insurance. In other words, you must specifically tell your insurance company that you want to buy UIM coverage. Like UM coverage, UIM coverage will provide you with money for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance money to cover all of your damages.

Just like UM coverage, UIM coverage also applies to any passengers injured in your car, or anyone driving the car with your permission, such as a child or spouse.

Most people are not aware that their UIM benefits might not be limited to the insurance on the car they were driving at the time of the accident. For example, if your family owns multiple cars you may be able to use the insurance for each individual car to increase the amount of money you can recover. This technique is referred to as “stacking” the insurance to double, triple or further increase the money available to you.

If you have questions about how underinsured motorist coverage works, or if you were involved in an accident with another driver that did not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, please contact personal injury and auto accident attorney Chris Haden at The Haden Law Office.