What’s the Difference Between BI and UM Insurance Coverage?
Bodily injury (BI) and uninsured motorist (UM) are two types of auto insurance coverage. Although both can pay for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a crash, they serve different purposes. How they work and who they cover differs, as do the situations when you would use them.
Understanding the types of insurance coverage available and what your policies cover is vital. It is the best way to ensure you have the necessary insurance in the event of an accident.
What do BI and UM Insurance Cover?
While both BI and UM insurance policies cover you for your injuriesyou that is where the similarities end. Consider the following definitions of these two types of coverage:
Bodily injury policies are a type of liability insurance that pays out when you cause an accident. If you were at fault in a crash and another person suffered injuries, it is your BI coverage that will pay for their medical needs, their lost wages, and their pain and suffering. This is crucial in preventing you from having a personal responsibility to pay for their care out of your pocket or liquidating your personal assets.
UM coverage pays for the policyholder’s medical care and other losses when the other driver causes the crash but does not have liability insurance. For example, if an uninsured driver caused your accident, you might have to pay for your medical care out of pocket unless you have this type of coverage.
It is also possible to file a claim based on this policy when you do not know the identity of the driver who caused the crash, such as in a hit and run accident.
Underinsured or UIMThis coverage is often sold alongside underinsured motorist policies, which paysout when the at-fault driver has too little insurance to to cover the cost of all ofmeet the required liability minimum to cover your medical needs and injuries in a collision.
Should I Carry Both Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
The Orlando Sentinel recently published an article showing that as many as one out of every five drivers in Florida drives without the required liability insurance. Florida has an uninsured rate of 20.4 percent, while nationwide, only 12.9 percent are uninsured. This makes it even more important to carry both BI and UM policies.
Since BI protects your assets and covers other people’s medical care costs and UM pays for your own injuries, both are key policies you will likely want as a part of your auto insurance coverage. Neither are required legally in Florida, but both are a good idea.
Imagine you were in an accident, and the police determine you caused the crash. However, another party suffered severe injuries. If you do not have bodily injury coverage, this could cost you thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you were in a collision caused by another driver and that driver was uninsured, you will want to have a policy to pay for any serious injuries you suffer.
What Happens Following a Traffic Accident?
After a collision, you can determine the applicable insurance policies to file your claims. You will need to gather information and submit your medical bills and other paperwork. Some insurers may offer you a payout quickly, but you should be careful about this. Accepting an early settlement may prevent you from recovering the compensation you need to cover your range of damages.
For example, you may require additional medical care or miss more work if you settle before reaching maximum medical healing or understanding your prognosis and any long-term injuries.
There may be a few other options for getting compensation if you are in a crash and do not have BI or UM coverage. A car accident attorney can assess these based on the details of your case.
In general, you may be able to sue if there is evidence the other driver caused your crash and they have assets to cover your expenses. Again, your lawyer can help you determine if this is a good idea in your case.
Each state has its own rules for how long you can wait to sue, but there is always a deadline. In Florida, for example, you may have up to two years following an injury to sue under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). This is longer than many areas, so you should connect with a law firm as quickly as possible after a crash to ensure you understand your timeline.
Learn More About the Differences Between BI and UM Insurance By Calling Today
At Distasio Law Firm, we provide free consultations for victims of traffic accidents. We know how to navigate the claims process and file claims based on many types of auto insurance policies. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical care and other losses you incurred. We are a contingency fee firm.
Call (813) 259-0022 for your complimentary case review with us today.