In Minnesota, every operator of an automobile must carry liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist coverage and no-fault coverage. However, officials with the Insurance Research Council estimate as many as one out of seven Minnesota drivers, or about 14 percent of the state’s vehicle owners, don’t have the legal minimum auto insurance required by law.

A much greater number of Minnesotans are underinsured. How can this affect you? It means there is not enough insurance coverage to protect you in the event that driver causes an accident which injures you, your child, or other passengers riding with you.

This is where Underinsured/Uninsured (UIM/UM) coverage kicks in. This insurance is designed to compensate you when you are hurt in a car accident and the other driver’s insurance is not enough to compensate you for your injuries, including your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Underinsured/Uninsured coverage forms an “extra layer” of protection for you when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is cheap protection. Look at the premiums charged for liability coverage, property damage, and personal injury protection. Compare those premiums to uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The uninsured and underinsured protection is quite inexpensive for the peace of mind you get, especially considering that many people only carry the bare minimum insurance required by Minnesota law, and some are uninsured altogether.

How much uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage should you carry to protect yourself and your family? You can only carry as much as your liability limits and you definitely should not carry less. Because injuries may seriously impact not only a working adult but a child or non-income earning spouse, most families should probably carry uninsured and underinsured motorist limits of at least $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. You should talk to your insurance agent to help you decide how much coverage is right for your situation.

Many of our clients, after experiencing serious injuries in auto accidents, wish they had purchased this kind of coverage. We routinely advise all of our clients to evaluate their insurance policies to make sure they are protected.

If you have a question about insurance that your agent can’t answer, you may wish to talk with a lawyer.