Underinsured Motorist Coverage


Underinsured Motorist Coverage Protects Injured People

Virginia underinsured motorist coverage, abbreviated "UIM," protects people against negligent drivers who do not have enough auto insurance. If you have more auto insurance than the person who hit you -- you have underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is required by Virginia law.

As an example, assume you are involved in a Manassas, Virginia car accident with Dorothy who rear-ends your car on I-66. Prince William County Police give Dorothy a ticket for reckless driving. The negligent driver, Dorothy, is insured with GEICO. She has minimum liability auto insurance limits of $25,000/$50,000/$20,000. Your auto insurance with State Farm has liability and underinsured motorist coverage limits of $100,000/$300,000/$50,000. (Usually, your liability and uninsured motorist limits are identical.)

If your case has a value of $100,000, Dorothy's auto liability insurance carrier, GEICO, pays its minimum "per person" liability limits of $25,000 and State Farm pays the difference in Virginia underinsured motorist coverage. The difference -- $100,000 minus $25,000 equals $75,000 in underinsured motorist coverage which is paid to you by State Farm. Dorothy is said to be "underinsured" by $75,000 since the value of your case is $100,000 and she has only $25,000 in auto liability insurance.

State Farm has what is called "subrogation rights." These rights allow State Farm to go after Dorothy once your case is settled to recover its $75,000 underinsured motorist payment back from her since she is the person who injured you.

No Insurance Rate Increase

Mr. Schwartz, if I use my Virginia underinsured motorist coverage, will my auto insurance rates increase?

Answer: No.

This Manassas, Virginia auto accident was not your fault. The reckless driver, Dorothy, is the at fault driver. Virginia law requires your insurance company to provide underinsured motorist coverage to you as a "consumer protection" part of your policy. You paid premiums for Virginia underinsured motorist coverage to protect you in a situation where a reckless driver does not have enough auto liability insurance. Dorothy's auto insurance rates should increase, not yours.

The Journal Article Lawyers Consult On
Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Woodbridge car accident lawyer Gerald Schwartz has taught personal injury and wrongful death lawyers across Virginia how to enhance their client's recovery with underinsured motorist coverage for 20 years. Schwartz's journal article for lawyers entitled "Maximizing Your Client's Recovery with Underinsured Motorist Coverage," published in the Journal of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (2009) is often consulted as an authority on the topic. To read this Journal article, click here.

Free Consultation With Gerald Schwartz

Woodbridge auto accident attorney Gerald Schwartz is an expert on underinsured motorist coverage as a legal tool to help injured people enhance their insurance recoveries in car accident cases.

For a free consultation directly with Gerald Schwartz, please call 1-800-423-0055.