Your Lawyer’s Advice Regarding Auto Insurance

FOPNIJTwo Things to Carry in Arizona

Everyone who lives in Arizona should “carry” two things.  Water and UIM/UM insurance coverage.  With either of these, it is better to have them and never need them than need them and not have them.  Water requires no explanation, but UIM/UM coverages do.

What does UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage and UM (uninsured motorist) mean?

UIM, or underinsured motorist coverage, protects you or passengers in your vehicle for bodily injury you or your passengers sustain in an accident involving a driver who has insufficient insurance to cover the injuries of you or your passengers.

UM, or uninsured motorist coverage, protects you or passengers in your vehicle for bodily injury you or your passengers sustain in an accident involving a driver who has no liability coverage. See A.R.S. § 20-259.01.

Can your rates be increased as a result of a UIM or UM claim?

Many people believe that insurers will increase their rates if they file a UIM or UM claim.  Insurers are not permitted to increase the “premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured.”  See A.R.S. § 20-263(A).

Why are these coverages so important?

Even though Arizona law requires that all motorists carry liability insurance, not all motorists do.  Similarly, motorists may come from other states or countries where mandatory liability coverage is not required.  Further, the required liability coverage in Arizona is only $15,000 per claim/$30,000 per accident.  Our experience is that, more often than not, these minimal coverages are insufficient to fully provide compensation to those who sustain injuries in motor vehicle accidents. 

What should you do?

Insurance companies do not make it a priority to inform their insureds of these coverages and so these coverages are often overlooked.  Don’t make that mistake.  Review your existing motor vehicle insurance policy.  If you do not have both UIM and UM motorist coverage, we strongly suggest you get them.  These coverages protect YOU.  Carry UIM and UM on all vehicles.  And carry water in those vehicles in the hot summer months!