Your right to Underinsured Motorist (UIM) benefits changed just last year, on January 3, 2014, following the amendment of 18 Del. C. § 3902(b)(2). The purpose of UIM coverage is to allow an insured to establish a fund to protect against losses caused by underinsured motorists. This is done by contracting supplemental insurance coverage from your automobile insurer. In a nutshell, UIM coverage provides additional insurance coverage when the tortfeasor’s bodily injury liability coverage fails to offer enough compensation for the injuries and damages sustained in a motor vehicle accident. (A tortfeasor is an individual who commits a tort, and in this context, is the individual who caused the motor vehicle accident).
While the purpose of the UIM coverage has remained the same, it is now easier to access this coverage. Prior to the statutory amendment, your right to UIM benefits was potentially limited and depended upon the amount of coverage under your own policy in comparison to the amount of coverage available through the tortfeasor’s policy. This comparison is no longer necessary. Now, so long as you have properly elected for UIM benefits, you are entitled to this coverage, regardless of the coverage available through the tortfeasor’s policy.
This amendment serves to benefit Delaware insureds and should be taken advantage of, as most, if not all, policies now in existence have been issued and/or amended following January 3, 2014.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and question whether you may be entitled to such coverage, please contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez at (302) 674-0140.