Basics of Ohio Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This blog is designed to give you a basic understanding of how underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage works in Ohio. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect insureds if he or she is involved in a motor vehicle collision and the at-fault party does not maintain sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for the injuries and damages sustained. For more on what underinsured motorist coverage is, check out “What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?”.
The amount of UIM coverage available to you is dependent on the state and your specific policy language. For instance, in Ohio, Ohio Revised Code § 3937.18 deals with uninsured (“UM”) and UIM coverage. Specifically, Ohio Revised Code § 3937.18 states, in part, the following:
- (C) If underinsured motorist coverage is included in a policy of insurance, the underinsured motorist coverage shall provide protection for insureds thereunder for bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, suffered by an insured under the policy, where the limits of coverage available for payment to the insured under all bodily injury liability bonds and insurance policies covering persons liable to the insured are less than the limits for the underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage in this state is not and shall not be excess coverage to other applicable liability coverages, and shall only provide the insured an amount of protection not greater than that which would be available under the insured’s uninsured motorist coverage if the person or persons liable to the insured were uninsured at the time of the accident. The policy limits of the underinsured motorist coverage shall be reduced by those amounts available for payment under all applicable bodily injury liability bonds and insurance policies covering persons liable to the insured.
For purposed of underinsured motorist coverage, an ‘underinsured motorist’ does not include the owner or operator of a motor vehicle that has applicable liability coverage in the policy under which the underinsured motorist coverage is provided.
Ohio Revised Code § 3937.18 (C).
Now the above excerpt articulates many aspects of UIM coverage in Ohio. It indicates what UIM coverage provides coverage for and when UIM coverage is available, the nature of the UIM coverage in Ohio (i.e. that it is not excess coverage), and how the amount of UIM coverage available is determined.
To allow you to see how UIM coverage works in Ohio, consider the following example: A red car strikes a blue car, and the red car is deemed at fault. For purposes of this example, imagine each driver maintains an Ohio automobile insurance policy and, in each vehicle, there is only one driver. The red car maintains Ohio state minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000.00. The blue car maintains $100,000.00 in UIM coverage. The injuries sustained to the driver of the blue car are clearly in excess of $25,000.00, and the insurance carrier for the red car tenders its bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000.00. After obtaining the $25,000.00 in bodily injury liability coverage from the red car’s insurance carrier, the driver of the blue car maintains a UIM claim with his/her own insurance carrier. In this situation, there would be $75,000.00 available to the driver of the blue car for UIM coverage ($100,000.00 (UIM coverage) – $25,000.00 (3rd party bodily injury liability coverage) = $75,000.00 (UIM coverage available)).
Bear in mind, the above is a general example of how UIM coverage may work. Indeed, each claim is different, which may impact coverage and the amount of coverage available. It is important to review your automobile insurance policy to see exactly how your UIM coverage provisions read. Making sure you are well protected in case of a collision is essential to ensure that you are adequately compensated in the event that the at-fault party does not maintain sufficient insurance coverage.