Since most states are either no fault states or have a financial responsibility requirement that has to be met before you can register a vehicle, why should I have to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage? It seems to be a duplication of coverage?

Remember in your purchasing insurance there are only minimum limits of liability required by the states. Those limits may be grossly inadequate if a major medical claim is incurred when you are involved with an underinsured motorist, or worse yet an uninsured motorist. A case in point may be helpful.

Mike and Mary were traveling through Oregon on their way to a motocross event in Northern California. They rounded a bend which was marked with a double yellow line for no passing when suddenly, a pickup driven by an itinerant farm worker coming in the opposite direction tried passing the vehicle in front of him. The driver had accelerated to ensure he could get around, but unfortunately he misjudged the oncoming traffic and put his pickup on a full front end collision course with Mike.

When Mike realized what was happening, he steered his vehicle toward the side of the road hoping to avoid the collision. Too late! The pickup sideswiped Mike’s car, spinning him around and off the road. The pickup didn’t sustain enough damage to disable it so the young driver sped away from the scene of the accident. Later, when the highway patrol found him, they discovered he had no license and had borrowed the pickup from a friend who had no insurance.

Mike’s vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest on the side of the road. He had some minor injuries but Mary was pinned inside the vehicle with multiple injuries, some of which were life threatening. Fortunately, the people who witnessed the accident were able to get police and medical attention on its way. Both were airlifted to a hospital where Mike was examined and released. Mary was put into intensive care for lacerations to her face, broken ribs, broken arm, broken leg and two broken ankles.

Over the next year and a half, she went in for multiple surgeries to help her heal from the traumatic experience.

Fortunately for them, they had purchased the highest limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage they could, so much of their medical and subsequent additional living expenses were covered by the insurance company. Nothing was ever collected from the at fault party, and Mary still has to use a cane to get around now five years after the claim.

It should be clarified, many states and insurance companies allow you to opt out of the carrying of uninsured and underinsured medical coverage, but how penny wise and pound foolish someone is to forego that coverage.