Buying Auto Insurance in Maryland (Part 2): Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists
Last month, we discussed why the minimum Maryland auto insurance liability coverage of $30K per person/$60K per accident, mandated by law, is risky business for anyone who drives more than that “little old lady who only drives to church on Sundays” that used car salesmen used to be so fond of. We recommended increasing your liability coverage to as much as your budget can afford, in the event you’re liable in a Maryland auto, truck, or motorcycle accident where people in the other vehicle get hurt and you get sued. The other type of auto insurance required of all drivers under Maryland law is Uninsured Motorist coverage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage for Maryland Auto Accidents
As a Baltimore Maryland injury lawyer, I’ve seen far too many personal injury cases where good people got caught up in a bad situation because they were involved in a Maryland car crash and they didn’t have enough auto insurance — and neither did the other driver. Or maybe the other driver didn’t have any insurance at all, which is common in Maryland.
Liability insurance protects the other guy if you’re found to be at fault in a Maryland car, truck, or SUV accident that causes personal injury. Uninsured Motorist coverage or “UM” is that same protection but flipped around to protect you. Say you’re driving around, not doing anything wrong, and out of the blue — somebody hits you. And that other driver doesn’t have any auto insurance. Your own insurance company will stand in the shoes of that person and put on the negligent driver’s hat, and will negotiate with you (and your Maryland car accident lawyer, if you retained one) — just like the other driver should have. That’s what UM coverage provides.
Minimum UM coverage required in Maryland is the same as liability insurance: $30K per person /$60K per accident. UM insurance also includes UIM coverage — Underinsured Motorist — where your insurance company will stand in for underinsured drivers as well. Say you get rear-ended by that nice little old lady and you need a back fusion, and you have a third-of-a-million-dollars in bills — and she has minimum coverage, $30,000. You would receive her $30K, but then your insurance company would be responsible for the balance, up to the amount of coverage that you purchased. That’s where we see UM insurance come into play all the time. If 10 percent of Maryland drivers are uninsured, a full third are tooling around Maryland with lousy coverage. So if you get hit by one of those guys, you won’t be bound by their lower coverage if your UM has higher limits.
Liability and UM are usually bound together, so if you purchase $100,000 liability coverage, that’s the most UM you can get. We recommend Maryland drivers get between $100K and $500K liability and UM. It’s all about preparing for what we all hope and pray never happens. But if you are in a car accident in Maryland where personal injury occurs — having more than the minimum car insurance helps protect your hard-earned personal assets.