The short answer is yes. These forms of coverage are not legally required, but are strongly recommended. Iowa law requires all drivers to show proof of financial responsibility, whether they are involved in a motor vehicle accident or not. In nearly all circumstances, with very few exceptions, this means proof of insurance. Without insurance an individual can face suspension of his or her driver’s license, a fine, and having his or her vehicle impounded.
Despite these penalties, not all motorists purchase insurance. There is a significant percentage of vehicle operators in Iowa that are uninsured. There is also a significant percentage of motor vehicle operators in Iowa that purchase only the minimum coverage.
Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you are injured due to the fault of an uninsured driver in Iowa, that person very likely does not have the financial resources to cover the damages you have suffered. This is where your uninsured (UM) coverage is important. This coverage provides compensation for personal injuries that you have suffered when the other driver was at fault for an accident.
Note that in Iowa, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is included in motor vehicle policies unless the purchaser opts out of that particular coverage. Therefore, most drivers in Iowa do have minimum UM coverage as part of their motor vehicle insurance. The point is that in order to be fully protected, this office recommends that your uninsured motorist coverage be increased to well above the minimum required. Premiums for significantly increased uninsured motorist coverage are relatively inexpensive compared to the additional coverage you receive. You should talk to your insurance agent about the amount of your uninsured motorist coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured (UIM) coverage is similar, but also distinctly different. If you are injured by another driver who actually has liability insurance, he or she may only have the minimum of $20,000.00 per person and $40,000.00 per accident. These minimums will not begin to cover most accidents where the property damages and physical injuries are at all significant. In such a case, the at-fault driver is considered underinsured. As with uninsured coverage under your policy, we strongly recommend increasing your underinsured motorist coverage well beyond the minimum. Again, the additional premiums are insignificant compared to the additional coverage.
Are You Properly Insured?
Just to repeat the foregoing, having insurance, and including having uninsured and underinsured coverage, is oftentimes not sufficient. We strongly recommend you talk to your insurance agent to confirm the amount of your coverages, and to determine what it would cost to increase those coverages. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 712-309-3738 to speak with Walter Thomas at Telpner Law.