Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What You Need to Know

Did you know that up to 54% of Ohio drivers drive without insurance? If you were struck by one of these drivers and injured, the only insurance you will have to compensate you for your losses will be your own. Even if the other driver has insurance the state only requires 25,000 per person $50,000 per incident and to drive legally in the state of Ohio.

I have recently represented clients in a devastating accident. It was a head on collision in which the husband was killed, and the wife was severely injured breaking almost every bone in her body. The person that hit them had insurance coverage of 100,000 per person 300,000 per incident. The wife has been left with a need for continuing care for the rest of her life. My clients also carried $100,000 per person $300,000 per incident. According to Ohio law, one cannot stack the coverage. In other words, $100,000 per person $300,000 per incident is all the insurance that can be obtained to make my clients whole.

In a wrongful death case such as this along with very serious and permanent injuries to the wife, this couple can only receive a maximum of $200,000. The wife ‘s hospital bills already exceed $470,000. This couple was on Medicare and fortunately, I was able to obtain a waiver from Medicare.

Payments made by state authorized plans such as Medicaid or federal plans such as Medicare have a right to subrogation.

In other words, if you’re injured by another party and will receive a settlement from their insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid has the right to be paid back what they have paid for your medical bills. In this case I was able to obtain a waiver, due to the catastrophic nature of this crash, which allowed the wife to receive another $100,000-dollar portion of the settlement less attorney fees without paying Medicare anything. Even so, this is hardly commensurate with the permanent loss my clients suffered.

Following the tort reform act of 2014, insurance companies are no longer required to have you sign off in writing that you do not want uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Instead, what you see is a barrage of ads telling you that they can provide you with the cheapest insurance. While this may be true it may not be a wise choice in the event of a catastrophic accident. In reality, $1 million of uninsured or underinsured coverage may cost as little as an extra $400 per year.

Contact our law offices if you’ve been in an accident or if you have questions regarding your automobile insurance coverage. All consultations are free. Don’t be left in a very bad situation by not adequately covering yourself in the event of catastrophic losses.


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