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Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Law (EUIM)

Sunday, October 16th, 2022 By

Being in a car accident can be incredibly traumatic – and may result in steep bills for property damage, medical treatment, and more. In many cases, your losses will be paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your own losses, then you can file a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through your own insurance company.

Uninsured motorist coverage is required in Maryland. Drivers also have the option to select enhanced underinsured motorist (EUIM) coverage when purchasing or renewing a policy. EUIM policies provide additional protection because you can access the full limits of your policy in addition to recovering financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In this way, you can maximize your compensation for your injuries.

DuBoff & Associates represents injury victims throughout Maryland in all types of motor vehicle accidents. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. If you have been injured in any type of car, truck, or motorcycle accident, give us a call to talk to a member of our legal team.

What Is Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

In Maryland, all private passenger vehicle insurance policies must either have uninsured motorist (UM) or enhanced underinsured motorist coverage (EUIM). These policies are intended to protect motorists who are involved in an accident with a driver who is either uninsured or who lacks sufficient insurance to cover their losses.

UM policies ensure that drivers who are in an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or who only has minimal insurance can still recover financial compensation for their losses. This type of coverage is important because Maryland has relatively low minimum car insurance requirements:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury
  • $60,000 in bodily injury coverage for 2 or more people
  • $15,000 for property damage

For anything other than a relatively minor motor vehicle accident, it is incredibly easy to meet these limits. For example, consider a situation where you are involved in a crash with a driver who only has the minimum insurance. You suffer a broken bone and a head injury, and your car has $20,000 in damage. Your medical bills are $35,000 – and rising.

Without UM coverage, you would be limited to the 30/60/15 policy limits. This means that you would be on the hook for any losses that exceed the policy limits. With UM coverage, you can seek compensation for your losses from your own insurance company.

EUIM is a special type of automobile insurance that insurance companies are required to offer. EUIM coverage is not automatic. Instead, you will need to choose EUIM coverage when you get a new policy or renew an existing car insurance policy.

EUIM differs from traditional UM coverage because it does not take any contribution from the at-fault driver’s insurance company into account. In other words, your insurance company won’t take what the other driver’s insurance company paid you into account when handling your claim. This has the effect of making sure that you get paid as much as possible for your injuries.

Here is how this works in practice. Imagine that you were in a serious car accident that caused severe injuries, substantial medical bills, and property damage, plus intangible losses like emotional distress and pain and suffering.  The at-fault driver only has minimum insurance coverage, and your expenses far exceed their policy limits.

With UM insurance, your insurance company would only pay for the difference between the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage and your own UM coverage. If the at-fault driver had a $30,000 policy for bodily injury and your UM policy had a $100,000 limit, then the most that you could recover for bodily injury would be $100,000. With EUIM coverage, however, you can “stack” your UM coverage onto the other driver’s insurance limits for a total of $130,000 in potential coverage.

Remember: insurance companies (even your own insurer) are in business to make money. Their goal is always to pay out as little as possible on a claim, whether by denying the claim outright or minimizing the amount that they have to pay on the claim. When you choose EUIM coverage, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of having your losses fully covered between the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and your own coverage.

Why Do I Need EUIM Coverage?

When a careless driver causes an accident, there is no guarantee that they will have sufficient auto insurance coverage to pay for your losses. While it is against the law, it is possible that they may not have any car insurance at all. This can leave you holding the metaphorical bag for paying for your losses – property damage, medical bills, lost wages, future medical treatment, and more.

For this reason, Maryland drivers are required to either have UM or EUIM coverage as part of their insurance policy. Having UM coverage can help you avoid this situation – and EUIM coverage provides even broader protection.

Unfortunately, too many accident victims have substantial losses that go far beyond the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In some cases, they are in an accident with a hit-and-run driver and cannot file a claim against that at-fault motorist. In these situations, having UM coverage is good – but having EUIM coverage is even better.

The bottom line is that EUIM is often the only way to get full compensation for your injuries. While EUIM costs more than UM coverage, it is worth it in the event that you are hurt in any type of motor vehicle accident. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer would advise anyone to purchase EUIM coverage if they can afford to do so.

How Do I Select EUIM Coverage?

When you get a new auto insurance policy in Maryland – or renew your existing policy – you will have three options for UM/EUIM coverage. Insurance companies must offer you UM and EUIM coverage as part of the process.

While your UM or EUIM coverage must meet the policy minimums (30/60/15), you can choose:

  1. Standard UM Coverage
  2. UM Coverage Waived to Less Than Liability Limits
  3. EUIM Coverage

Standard UM coverage protects drivers from situations where they are involved in an accident with a driver without auto insurance or without enough insurance sufficient to cover your losses. Standard UM coverage must equal your auto insurance policy limits unless you specifically choose otherwise. For example, if your insurance policy covers $100,000 in bodily injury, $300,000 in bodily injury for 2 or more people, and $50,000 in property damage, then a standard UM policy would also have 100/300/50 limits.

It is possible to purchase UM coverage for less than your policy limits. However, you cannot choose a lower amount than the minimum required insurance coverage of 30/60/15.

Finally, you can choose EUIM coverage. It provides the same benefits as UM coverage, but the policy limits will not be offset by any payments from the at-fault driver’s insurer. EUIM coverage must equal your policy limits.

Remember: you are required to choose either UM or EUIM coverage. The best way to protect yourself in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is to get as much coverage as you can afford – ideally with an EUIM policy.

Hurt in a Car Accident? We Can Help.

After a motor vehicle accident, you may be dealing with lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and the anxiety and stress that often accompanies such a traumatic event. You may also be getting calls from the other driver’s insurance company as well as from your own insurer. Our law firm can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

With offices in Silver Spring and Baltimore, DuBoff & Associates represents accident victims throughout Maryland. We have substantial experience handling all types of accident claims – including those that involve uninsured and underinsured motorists. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maryland car accident lawyer, give our law office a call at 301-495-3131 or fill out our online contact form.

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