Here's one of those coverages that can be SO misunderstood. The case listed below is an actual case with a couple of small changes. It happened in Virginia and is really difficult for all parties involved:
- Insured hits claimant broadside and driver is seriously hurt, passenger is unfortunately killed.
- well in excess of $350,000 before any possible puntative damages.
- Insured had 100,000 / 300,000 / 50,000 liability on their auto policy (that means 100,000 limits per person in an accident, 300,000 per accident in total, and 50,000 in property damage liability.)
So, the claimant knows the insured doesn't have enough coverage. The claimant then files with THEIR insurance under the uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policy. Their limits for uninsured motorist liability are also 100,000 / 300,000 / 50,000. In this case because the INSURED had the same liability limits they can NOT cross over to their own policy and collect further under the U.M. Their only recourse is to hire a plantiff attorney and try to sue the Insured for damages attached to assets, which can be extremely costly, time consuming and exhausting.
IF the claimant had higher limits of liability and Uninsured Motorist, 250,000 / 500,000 / 100,000 for instance, they would have been able to go into their own auto policy for up to the $500,000 uninsured motorist limits MINUS what they got from the insured which would have been up to 300,000. So an additional 200,000 could be the difference between being made whole (at least financially) or bankruptcy.
Moral of the story- Buy as high limits as you can afford!! Bad things can happen to good people.