Why UM/UIM is important

Imagine you are driving along one summer afternoon on your way to watch a Mariners game. As you are driving, you see the traffic in front of you slow to a stop. Naturally, being the ever attentive driver that you are, you have left enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you to stop.

However, the driver behind you is humming along at a cool 40 miles per hour. What you don’t know is that he or she is devoting 70% of their attention to Farmville, the game on their phone. Sadly, 30% of their attention is not enough to recognize that traffic has grinded to a halt. Instead, they barrel into the rear of your vehicle. On impact, your head whips back and then forward. You experience immediate intense neck pain.  

Weeks after the collision you are still experiencing neck pain. Concerned, you seek medical treatment from multiple sources after a few MRI’s, office visits, and consults, you have racked up $20,000 or more in medical bills. Furthermore, your injuries have forced you to take a few months off from work and you are now eating into your savings. At this point, you are overwhelmed but you believe the other driver’s insurance is going to cover all of your medical bills and missed wages.

Turns out the other driver decided not to pay their last premium. As a result, they have no insurance to cover the damages they have caused. Furthermore, they have no assets to speak of.

This is about the time you call a personal injury attorney. You schedule a free consultation and you bring your insurance information with you. The attorney confirms with you that you have what is called underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. This may have been the wisest financial decision you made in the past year.


Well, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage provides compensation to you when you are injured by a driver just like the one who hit you. Specifically, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage compensates you for bodily injury and property damage when you are injured by another driver who does not have liability insurance or has insufficient liability insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your loss.

Under Washington State law all auto insurers are required to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to all Washington State policy holders. Furthermore, insurers are required to offer the same uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as the liability insurance coverage you purchase.

In the imaginary scenario above, even though the at-fault party was uninsured, you would have been able to make claim under your policy and your attorney would be able to make a claim to recover an amount that is adequate to cover the damages you suffered.

Although we speak of it in joking terms above, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is extremely important for you and your family. Often times in our practice it makes a huge difference in the life of a person who suffers serious injuries in a car collision.

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