Recent changes to Virgnia’s Underinsured Motorist statute (Code of Virgnia § 38.2- 2206) have gone into effect which should directly increase your peace of mind while driving. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you in the unfortunate event of a collision where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate for your injuries and damages.
For any automobile insurance policy that was purchased or renewed in Virginia on or after July 1, 2023, the underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage will no longer receive a credit for payments from an at-fault driver’s liability coverage. This means that you can now recover the full amount of your UIM benefits in addition to the liability coverage from the at-fault driver, greatly increasing the overall amount of coverage available to you in a motor vehicle collision.
For example, under the old law, if the at-fault driver had $50,000 in liability coverage and you had $50,000 in UIM coverage,
your maximum recovery would be limited to only $50,000, because your UIM policy receives a credit from the at-fault driver’s policy. The new statute eliminates that credit, meaning your maximum recovery now becomes $100,000.
All insurance companies providing automobile insurance coverage in Virginia are required to automatically provide this expanded coverage when your policy renews, unless you elect to opt-out of the expanded coverage. Opting out of this expanded coverage would be a mistake. As demonstrated in the example above, a few dollars saved in premiums effectively cuts your available benefits in half.
If you have any questions about this or any other insurance issue, your attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., are here to answer them.