I started the Loewy Law Firm in 2005 and have represented thousands of Austin residents injured in motor vehicle crashes. My firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars for injured Texans over these 15 years, and I’m an authority on how insurance law works in Texas. From car crashes to truck crashes to bike crashes, I have seen countless ways in which accidents have seriously hurt people and disrupted their lives.
As such, I am often asked how people can best protect themselves. My answer is always concise and quite simple: “Go get more UIM coverage.”
What is UIM?
UIM is short for Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and it is part of the insurance policy for your car. UIM provides financial coverage for someone who is hit by an “underinsured” or “uninsured” driver. It is required in some states but not in Texas. A 2017 Insurance Research Council study found that one in eight drivers is uninsured, with even more underinsured.
“I am often asked what are the ways in which people can best protect themselves. My answer is always concise and quite simple: Go get more UIM coverage.”
Consider the following hypothetical: you are driving on Lamar, and you are suddenly T-boned by another car. You are rushed to Dell Seton Medical Center and spend a few nights in intensive care. You then face weeks of recovery, and your medical bills quickly pile up to $40,000.
If that isn’t enough, it turns out the other driver who hit you only has $30,000 in car insurance — the legally required minimum amount of car insurance drivers must carry. Sadly, most people only carry this low amount. With your lawyer’s help, you obtain that $30,000 but you are still “in the red” because your medical bills and other damages well exceed $30,000.
At this point, you are in an “underinsured” situation. But if you have UIM, you can turn to your own insurance company and make a claim for the balance.
Purchase More UIM Coverage
Unfortunately, most people we represent either have no UIM or have a minimum $30,000 UIM policy. That is not enough. You should purchase at least $100,000 in UIM coverage, and to be on the safe side, it should be $250,000 or $500,000. It is impossible to have “too much” UIM coverage. The difference in cost between $100,000 in coverage to $250,000 or $500,000 is minimal, and trust me, you will be very thankful you have significant coverage if you are involved in a car crash.
In the above hypothetical, if you had $250,000 in UIM coverage, you could likely obtain all or most of it for your injuries and be fully compensated. If you only had a small UIM policy, you would never be properly compensated for your injuries. If these coverages seem high to you, I can guarantee that you’re underestimating the cost of medical bills and damage.
The single best thing you can do today to protect yourself and your family is pick up the phone, call your car insurance company, and purchase more UIM coverage. And if you’re ever worried about your coverage or have been in an accident, contact a lawyer. It’s the best way to ensure that you’re protected.