We received a call this week. A woman was on the phone. Her husband had been involved in a bad wreck. The at-fault driver had a $50,000 policy. She and her husband had a $100,000 policy on the motorcycle.
Charges for the first 10 days in the hospital exceeded $300,000.
The first thing she wanted to know was whether the health insurance plan was going to take all the money (from the at-fault driver and her husband’s underinsured motorist policy). She had received letters from the plan explaining that it wanted to be paid back.
Fortunately, her husband’s plan was covered by Washington law rather than ERISA. That meant that if there wasn’t enough liability and UIM coverage to cover all her husband’s damages, the plan doesn’t get paid back anything.
The second thing she wanted to know was whether they were limited to collecting $50,000 from the at-fault driver. I explained that even though we would only be able to collect $50,000 from his insurance carrier, we were not limited to that amount if he had other assets. Fortunately, he has a house and appears to have a lot of equity in it. The husband and wife were reluctant to take the driver’s house. But I explained to them that the driver had a chance to buy a lot more insurance and decided to “save” money on the premiums. He made a choice to gamble by paying a lower premium and having less coverage.
That begs the question: Does it make sense to gamble and buy either minimum coverage or carry low limits? Absolutely not. It costs fractionally more to have great coverage.
TRUE COST OF UIM COVERAGE
Here’s an example showing what it costs to add UIM coverage from one of our clients who is a State Farm insurance agent:
$25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurrence: $7.02 per month
$50,000 per person/$100,000 per occurrence: $9.32 per month
$100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence: $13.58 per month
$250,000 per person$500,000 per occurrence: $20.47 per month
$1,000,000 combined limit: $27.50 per month
MOTORCYCLISTS ARE NOW REQUIRED TO CARRY LIABILITY INSURANCE
One of the big barriers to motorcyclists having UIM insurance was that it can’t be purchased without liability coverage. A lot of riders decided that since they weren’t required to have liability coverage, they wouldn’t purchase it. But that all changed on July 28, 2019. The Washington State Legislature passed a new law that all motorcycle riders must carry liability coverage and proof they have insurance. Riders are no longer exempt from the mandatory insurance law.
There are a number of positives. The first is that passengers that get hurt will now be covered. The second is that since all riders have to purchase liability insurance, all riders have the opportunity (and really the obligation to themselves, their families and their passengers) to buy as much UIM coverage as they can.
QUESTIONS ABOUT INSURANCE?
Questions about what coverage you have and/or need? Send us a copy of your declarations page. We’re happy to explain it and make suggestions at no cost.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING
I highly recommend Myers & Company. They do virtually all the leg work & know the business well. The staff is helpful & knowledgeable. Mr. Myers is on top of it. No stone is left unturned. Motorcycle specialists.
– Motorcycle Accident Client
“Thank you for all your help working on my cases. Your support and care were over the top! If ever I have anyone seeking legal guidance, you will be #1 on my suggestion list!”
– Motor Vehicle Accident Client