Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
In auto accident cases in New Mexico, the other driver will often have little or no insurance coverage. Where the other driver does have insurance, the minimal limits in New Mexico are $25,000.00. This amount is typically insufficient to compensate an injured plaintiff.
This makes your own auto insurance extremely important. Every auto accident case will begin with an evaluation of the insurance situation of both parties, the other driver and your own. Hopefully, you have obtained Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This is often the only coverage available to you in an auto accident.
Underinsured coverage is pretty inexpensive. It is a good deal for the insured, and often is the only protection available for the insured. This is why the law requires that an insured party expressly waive in writing underinsured coverage. Think about this for a moment and you will understand the motivations of the insurance company. Ask yourself why an insurance company would ever ask you to opt out of coverage, thereby losing a premium. The answer is that it is good for you and generally not so good for the insurance company.
If you are in an accident, gather all of your auto insurance information immediately for every vehicle in your home. The most important document for a lawyer reviewing your case to have is the Declaration Page (“Dec Page”). This will set forth the precise coverage that you have on your policies.
Keep in mind that New Mexico unlike some other states allow you to stack underinsured coverage of all vehicles in the home. This means that if you have 3 vehicles and each has $25,000 underinsured, you have a total of $75,000 in underinsured coverage. Understand that if the other party has insurance, your underinsured covers only the total underinsured available less the amount of the other party’s insurance. In other words, if you have $75,000, and the other party has $25,000, then you have total of $50,000 available in underinsured coverage.
If you have been in an accident, gather all your insurance coverage information for an attorney to evaluate your claim. Hopefully, you have underinsured coverage. If you don’t, buy it now for the future. It will provide some protection for you and your family against what can be financially devastating injuries.