You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Bodily Injury.
Buying car insurance is like traveling to a foreign country you visited once, when you were twelve. You have a feel for the place, kind of. You know a tiny bit of the language. Still, you know better than to hop on an airplane and hope for the best. You study the map, research places to stay, and pack for bad weather. You might even get a vaccine. You prepare, because going to a strange land is risky, and you don’t want to get lost, robbed, or sick.
Understanding the Risks
Unfortunately, when it comes to the strange land of car insurance, most people don’t really understand the language, much less the risks. They shop for it like anything else– online, as quickly as possible. They tend to buy the minimum required by law, reject anything else as bells and whistles, and get on with life.
But after an accident, they might find themselves with a severe case of metaphorical food poisoning. Because in Colorado, the minimum requirement for car insurance is just that—minimal. Of the five kinds of car insurance– liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)— Colorado drivers are only required to carry liability insurance at the following limits:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury.
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
- $15,000 per accident for property damage.
How Liability Insurance Works in Colorado
Liability insurance pays the other driver on the at-fault driver’s behalf. This matters because Colorado is an at-fault state, meaning the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the driver who did no wrong. So, theoretically, if everyone in Colorado has liability insurance, every car accident should be covered.
But in reality, Colorado has one of the highest percentages of uninsured motorists in the country– around 13 percent. If you are hurt by one of these drivers, your liability policy won’t help you because, after all, the accident was not your fault! And so, if you are hurt by an uninsured motorist and only have liability coverage, you may well be a victim twice over: once because of the accident, twice because there is no money to pay your bills.
UM/UIM Coverage Explained
That’s why UM/UIM coverage was invented. UM/UIM insurance allows your insurance company to act as insurance for the uninsured driver. Your insurance company is required to offer it, but they are not required to make you buy it. In fact they may, like an oversharing neighbor, confuse the issue by presenting you with more information that you really need. Technically, there are two kinds of UM/UIM coverage: property damage and bodily injury. In Colorado, you cannot own both liability coverage and UM coverage for property damage. They overlap.
But you do need UM/UIM coverage for bodily injury. We’ll say it again: You need underinsured/uninsured (UM/UIM) motorist insurance for bodily injury. It’s typically less than $20/month and if you are thrifty you might be tempted to reject it. Don’t. UM/UIM coverage is just a great, great idea. Compared to paying out-of-pocket for an accident, it is also a great deal.
You may even enjoy driving more, knowing you are covered. Because it feels good to be prepared for adventure, even if it’s just a drive down the street.
Article by Molly Fuscher