Automobile insurance is required by Kansas law. When most auto owners think about insurance, they probably think about liability coverage. Liability insurance covers a driver when they are at fault for an accident in which another person is injured. The minimum liability coverage in Kansas is $25,000 per injured individual and $50,000 per car accident combined.
Many insurance policies offer coverage well in excess of the minimum amounts. Some drivers may be unaware of Kansas uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. While less likely to be used in the event of a car accident, these types of coverage are hugely important.
Both Kansas uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage protect you under specific circumstances if you are injured in an accident that is not your fault. If you are injured by a driver who did not have a valid insurance policy in effect at the time of the accident, your uninsured motorist policy would kick in and offer coverage to compensate you for your injuries and damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your recovery (and that of any passengers also injured) will be restricted to whatever the policy limits are for your policy.
How Do Kansas Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Here’s an example of a Kansas uninsured motorist coverage situation. Let’s say Bob and Janice are traveling in their vehicle, which has a $100,000/$300,000 uninsured motorist policy, and an uninsured driver runs a stop sign and t-bones their vehicle. There is no question that the uninsured driver is 100% at fault for the accident and any injuries sustained by Bob and Janice. However, since the at-fault driver has no insurance, there is little hope for recovery against that driver. In this situation, then, Bob and Janice can make a claim for their injuries and damages on their own uninsured motorist policy, and each could recover up to $100,000 depending on the severity of their injuries and other damages.
While Kansas uninsured motorist insurance protects you if you are injured by an uninsured driver, your Kansas underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when your injuries and other damages exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver. In these cases, your maximum recovery is again restricted to the limits of your underinsured motorist policy.
For example, let’s say Steve owns a vehicle with Kansas underinsured motorist coverage of $100,000/$300,000 and he is struck by another vehicle, whose owner carries a policy of $25,000/$50,000 on it. The most Steve can recover from the other driver’s policy is $25,000.
What happens if Steve’s medical and wage loss damages are more than $25,000? In that case, once the at-fault driver’s insurance offers the individual maximum of $25,000 to Steve, Steve can assert a claim against his own underinsured motorist policy, and recover up to $75,000 more to recover the remainder of his damages.
Why Are Kansas Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Important?
So why is knowing about these types of insurance coverages important? Making sure your uninsured and underinsured motorist limits are high enough protects you in the event you are seriously injured by a driver who either has no insurance on their vehicle or insufficient limits to fully compensate you if you are injured. These coverages are especially important in cases of catastrophic injury, where expenses can be exorbitant. It can also cover the funeral services and burial costs in cases of wrongful death.
It may seem silly to say, but you don’t get to choose whose vehicle causes an accident in which you are injured. If you are injured by another driver, you have no control over how much insurance that driver has or if the driver has any insurance at all. Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverages protect you against the risk of being injured by someone without enough coverage or assets to fully compensate you for your damages.
Unfortunately, many drivers find out too late that their coverage isn’t high enough. The time to double-check your insurance limits is before an accident, not after.
Injured in an Accident With an Underinsured Motorist?
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident and have questions about uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, the Kansas personal injury attorneys at Patterson Legal Group can help. Our lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with car insurance companies to secure the best possible settlements for our clients.
Patterson Legal Group is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call at 888-687-2400, connect with a LiveChat representative, or submit your inquiry using our secure contact form for a free consultation. Remember, our team works on a “no win, no fee” basis, and winning your case is our highest priority.
The information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as legal advice for an individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship nor does viewing this material constitute an attorney-client relationship.