What Enhanced Underinsured Motorist (EUIM) Coverage Means in Maryland
When you're involved in a car accident, a key factor in determining the amount of compensation you receive is the amount of available insurance coverage. However, you have no control over the amount of insurance that another driver carries. That's where uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance come in. They are coverages that you may add to or increase your auto policy in order to protect you if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough to pay for your losses.
In July 2018, a Maryland law went into effect that required insurance companies to start offering enhanced underinsured motorist (EUIM) coverage on all newly issued policies. This is one of the most important types of insurance you can carry, potentially making a difference of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars as to your recovery. Here's what you need to know.
The difference between regular UIM and Enhanced UIM
Standard underinsured motorist insurance in Maryland is meant to supplement the other driver's insurance in order to protect you from inadequate coverage. When you buy a certain amount of UIM coverage, you're essentially buying a guarantee that there will be at least that much insurance available. Under the old law in Maryland, you were limited. For example, if you had $100,000 in UIM coverage, and you were hit by a driver who has $30,000 in bodily injury coverage — the legal minimum in Maryland — then the other driver's insurance will pay up $30,000, and your insurance will pay up $70,000, for $100,000 in total coverage. In other words, your auto policy gets a reduction in the amount of what the other driver’s policy has paid.
Under the new law, and the option of Enhanced UIM, you can stack your insurance with the other driver's insurance, meaning you can recover the other driver's full policy limits and your full EUIM policy limits. To return to the above example, that means there would be $130,000 in available coverage — $30,000 from the other driver and $100,000 from your underinsured motorist coverage. You get the benefit of the full amount of UIM policy amount.
EUIM is not automatic in Maryland. Insurance companies are required to offer it to you, but you have to opt-in in writing to get this important coverage. However, whether a driver has to opt-in or opt-out is now before the legislature as of 2023. And remember, it's only available in newly issued policies, not when renewing an existing policy. Either way, we suggest it is wise to pay the added amount to buy EUIM so you do not expose yourself to additional financial risk from an accident. Check with your agent or carrier to see if and how you can become eligible and in what amount.
Make sure you're fully protected in the event of an injury
Depending on the amount of coverage and the extent of your injuries, having EUIM can make a difference of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in available insurance to pay for your injuries.
In decades of practicing personal injury law, we've seen time and again how important it is to have as much uninsured and underinsured motorist protection as you can afford. UM, UIM, and EUIM are generally quite inexpensive compared to your bodily injury liability coverage, and they protect you from some of the worst drivers on the road. Don't take chances with your financial future. Make sure you're fully protected if you're hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
We can help you fight for full value after an accident
If you're hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, it's critical that you have the right legal representation. An experienced attorney can investigate and find all available sources of insurance coverage to maximize the value of your claim. Remember, in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you also still need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident; we can investigate and find the evidence needed to support your claim.
Don't take chances after a car accident. Get an experienced attorney on your side as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick for a free consultation. We proudly serve victims in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.