Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is intended to help protect accident victims injured by negligent drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. When an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to pay an accident victim’s damages in full, the accident victim’s UIM coverage kicks in to provide compensation to the accident victim. UIM and liability insurance is required for all drivers in Maryland.
However, as of July 1, 2018, insurance companies must offer an Enhanced UIM policy to drivers that will provide greater protections in situations where an at-fault driver does not have insurance or is underinsured. The new insurance coverage is intended to close a “gap” that exists when an accident victim attempts to utilize the full benefits of his or her UIM coverage. The new insurance coverage is only available for policies sold on or after July 1, 2018. At present, the guidelines provided by the Maryland Insurance Administrations does NOT require this to be offered on renewals – therefore, you should contact your insurance agent directly and request a quote.
How Does UIM Work in a Car Accident Claim?
In the past, if an accident victim had UIM coverage, the insurance benefit would apply in cases in which an at-fault driver’s insurance was insufficient to pay the victim’s damages in full, or the at-fault driver had no insurance. However, under the old system, there was a “gap” in UIM coverage that could significantly impair the accident victim’s ability to recover full compensation for all losses.
The gap was caused by the requirement that the amount received by the accident victim from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance plus the amount received from the victim’s UIM coverage could not exceed the victim’s UIM policy amount. In other words, if you have $100,000 in UIM coverage and your total damages for a car accident total $200,000, the maximum recovery would be $100,000 if the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage was anything less than $100,000. You would receive the amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver had at the time of the wreck (most people carry the minimum insurance amount of $30,000) plus the difference between the at-fault driver’s liability insurance up to a total of $100,000 (the amount of your UIM coverage). Any damages above your UIM coverage of $100,000 would not be compensated.
It simply did not make sense to limit the amount an accident victim could recover for damages in a UIM claim to the total of the UIM policy when damages exceeded that amount. In other states, accident victims can “stack” coverage to receive compensation for all damages up to the policy limits of their UIM coverage.
The New Enhanced UIM Coverage Rules
As of July 1, 2018, insurance companies in Maryland must offer drivers Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage (EUIM) when they sell an insurance policy (not a renewal). Drivers must opt into the new EUIM option in writing to be eligible for the enhanced coverage. By opting into the new EUIM option, a driver receives a higher level of protection in the event he or she is injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
With EUIM coverage, an accident victim is permitted to “stack” insurance coverage to avoid the gap that currently occurs with many UIM policies. Now if you are injured in a car accident with an underinsured driver, you can recover the full value of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage and the full value of your EUIM coverage up to the policy limits or the value of your damages.
In the above example, you would receive the $30,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but you would also receive the $100,000 EUIM coverage from your insurance company for a total of $130,000. By “stacking” the coverage, accident victims can receive more money (prior law would have capped the recovery at $100,000).
You Must Opt-In to Receive EUIM
Remember, EUIM is only available on insurance policies sold on or after July 1, 2018. If you do not choose to purchase EUIM by completing the written documents for your insurance company, you will not receive the enhanced protection offered by this new insurance coverage.
You can find more information by reading the Bulletin from the Maryland Insurance Administration or contacting the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team.
Filing a car accident claim can be difficult and challenging. Maryland insurance laws and personal injury laws are complex and often change. As car accident victims begin to file claims under the new law regarding EUIM, there may be questions and challenges. The Pinder Plotkin Legal Team follows the changes in the code and case law to ensure we provide our clients with the best legal strategies for recovering full compensation for all damages, injuries, and losses.
Call a Maryland Car Accident Attorney for More Information
We understand that you have suffered great financial loss and physical pain. Let us help guide you through the process of filing an injury claim by offering support, guidance, and legal counsel you can trust.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC by calling 410-661-9440 for a free consultation with a Maryland car accident lawyer.
The information provided in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information contained in this blog is also subject to change and should not be relied upon. Contact the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team for a FREE consultation.