Most people understand why liability insurance is needed for their motor vehicles. That policy protects them, and permissive users of the vehicle, from potential damages due to negligent operation. In Virginia the minimum policy limits are $25,000/$50,000/$20,000.00. That means the limits of liability are $25,000.00 for any single individual; $50,000.00 for any single accident; and a limit of $20,000.00 for property damage caused in the accident. Higher liability limits are available through most automobile insurers.

UM coverage, also known as UM/UIM coverage, provides insurance for accidents caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Most insurers require that the UM/UIM limits conform with the liability coverage (e.g., the insured must have a liability limit of $100,000.00 in order to obtain $100,000.00 of UM/UIM coverage.) UM/UIM coverage is very important because it provides protection in the event that you, or a member of your household, or an occupant of the motor vehicle, is injured by uninsured or underinsured motorist. Should that occur, your UM/UIM limits are available to provide protection to you or the injured occupant of your vehicle.

For example, if you have a $300,000.00 UM/UIM limit, and you are injured due to the negligence of a motorist who has only $25,000.00 of liability coverage, then your insurer will provide additional coverage to you in the amount of $275,000.00 ($300,000.00 – $25,000.00). The cost of UM/UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive; and most importantly, provides protection to you and members of your household who are injured due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Medical-Payments (Med-Pay) coverage can be requested from the insurer for a minimum limit of $2,000.00, per person, unless the insurer agrees to supply higher limits. Under Va. Code § 38.2-2201, the policy limits will “stack” for each vehicle insured under the policy, subject to a maximum of four vehicles. That means if the insured requests, and obtains, minimum coverage of $2,000.00 person, and has three vehicles insured under his policy, then that individual will have medical-payments coverage of up to $6,000.00.

Med-Pay coverage is no-fault coverage that entitles the insured to dollar-for-dollar reimbursement for medical expenses incurred as the result of an automobile accident. In most cases these amounts are due and owing to the insured, even if there is alternative coverage (e.g., a group health insurance plan).

The cost of Med-Pay coverage is usually not substantial; but there are limits upon the monetary amount of coverage. For maximum protection of yourself, members of your household and occupants of your motor vehicles, consider obtaining the highest limits available, and that you can afford, for Med-Pay and UM/UIM coverage.

If you find yourself in need of an insurance attorney, we invite you to contact Ben Trichilo at (703) 934-1198.

Disclaimer: This firm only offers legal advice to clients, and the facts of a particular situation usually drive the legal advice we give to clients. This message is not intended to be legal advice appropriate for all situations, nor to encourage providing confidential information prior to the written confirmation of an attorney-client relationship.