Personal, Property, UM, UIM — What Does My Car Insurance Mean?

If you drive a car you likely have (or should have) car insurance. When you purchase a policy an agent will walk you through everything, and briefly explain your policy to you. You wonder what your premiums are going to be, and you don’t worry about your car insurance again until something happens. 

You’re driving one day, and all of a sudden someone hits you. Now you’re looking at your insurance card and wording what all the numbers and letters on it mean.

Minimum Coverage

Each state has minimum coverage to be liable to others that an individual must maintain on their car. For example, South Carolina minimum coverage is $25,000/$50,000/$25,000. What does this mean? That means if you have a minimum coverage car insurance policy in South Carolina your insurance will cover up to $25,000 of bodily injury per person up to $50,000 total for the collision. Finally, there is $25,000 in total for property damage (usually to cover the value of the other driver’s car). That is strict liability. If you have collision coverage, damage to your vehicle will be covered. If you have comprehensive insurance, your insurance will pay for certain non-collision damage to your vehicle such as theft, vandalism, or hail damage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage 

What does UM mean? UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. What this covers is situations where a driver crashes into you and they do not have their own auto insurance policy. Also, UM coverage can be used when you are the victim of a hit and run. Most states, including South Carolina from our example above, require motorists to carry UM coverage.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

UIM stands for underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage means that if someone crashes into you and their insurance cannot cover the costs of damages, your UIM coverage will cover the rest (to policy limits). Let’s say someone crashes into you and causes you to accrue $50,000 in medical bills. Staying with our South Carolina example, if the driver that crashed into you has the state minimum coverage that will only cover up to $25,000 (there is a $25,000 per person limit). So after the at-fault driver’s insurance covers the first $25,000 you’re still left on the hook for the other $25,000. Your UIM coverage will kick in, and cover the rest after the at-fault driver’s insurance has paid.

Navigating an auto insurance policy can be very confusing. After you’ve been involved in a collision you may have been seriously injured, and dealing with insurance agents is probably the last thing on your mind. An experienced lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer, can help you to navigate your auto insurance policy, and ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve for the policy you pay for.