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Virginia Legislators Pass Law to Improve UM/UIM Coverage

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

Are you a motorist in Virginia? If so, a major change to Virginia insurance law has taken place that you need to know. And though insurance law changes are often bad news for consumers, this particular change brings great news for motorists.


Previous Rules for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage


Before July 1, 2023, crash victims seeking compensation would need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. If the other driver’s liability insurance covered the entirety of the victim’s losses, the victim could not make a claim against their uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy.

It was only until the victim exhausted the other driver’s liability insurance that they could file a claim against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.

Suppose that a motorist with liability coverage of $60,000 causes you $50,000 in damage. Under the old rules, the only claim you would file would be against the other driver’s policy.

However, if you had $80,000 in losses, you would exhaust the other driver’s $50,000. Then, you would file a claim against your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage policy for the remaining $30,000.

Current Rules for Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage


July 1, 2023, brought about a sweeping change in how uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage works. Now, motorists may make two claims instead of one.

If this change sounds like it allows an injury victim to receive double coverage, you should know that it does. Injured motorists can file claims against the other driver’s liability insurance and against their uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policy as well.

The practice is known as stacking because the claimant essentially stacks insurance policies to obtain double or even multiple coverage options.

Suppose that you have experienced $100,000 in damages due to someone else’s fault. They have liability insurance of $200,000. Under the new rules, you can claim the full $100,000 in losses from the other driver’s liability insurance policy. You would also be entitled to tap into your underinsured motorist coverage/uninsured motorist coverage.

Essentially, you could be looking at a $200,000 payout under the new rules. But under the old rules, your payout would have been limited to $100,000.

Results of the New Law


Insurance companies are not too happy about this change because it means they will be covering more accidents. But they are not standing by without doing something about it.

Insurance companies have been desperately contacting policyholders since the new law took effect. They are trying to convince them to reduce their underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. “You’ll save premiums!” say the insurance companies.

But the loss in compensation for not having enough UIM or UM coverage is much greater than any premiums you pay.

What Happens to Policies on or After July 1, 2023?


Virginia Legislators Pass Law

All policies with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage issued after the law change will automatically reflect the new changes. Those whose policies predate the law change remain bound to those policies until they expire. Upon the issuance of a new auto policy, the new changes will be in force.

Keep in mind that it is in the best interests of insurance companies to get you to opt out of UM/UIM coverage. But having good coverage in this area allows you to get double compensation under the right conditions. So when your policy renews, don’t let an agent talk you out of having it.

What to Do After a Crash in Virginia


If you have been in an auto accident and need to file a claim, there are certain steps to take to help ensure you get compensated.

Don’t Leave the Scene


You’ll want to make sure not to leave the scene of the accident until all relevant issues have been resolved. Leaving the scene of a crash is a crime in Virginia that could lead to jail and fines. Also, fleeing the scene of a crash will likely negatively affect your future insurance claims.

Report the Crash


The state has accident reporting requirements when injuries occur or when there is property damage over $1,500. Failure to report a wreck could lead to criminal charges.

Gather Evidence


You need evidence to prove that you deserve damages. And some of the best evidence comes from fresh crash scenes. So if you are able, try to take photos and video footage of the accident scene. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information as well.

Seek Medical Attention


After suffering a car wreck, it is vital to address any injuries you have in a timely manner. This means getting a medical evaluation as soon as possible after the crash, no matter how mild you believe your injuries to be. If you fail to seek medical attention, the other side could effectively dispute your injuries in many different ways.

Meet with a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer


Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will safeguard your rights to compensation and fight for the money you deserve. But insurance companies want to pay you less or nothing at all.

Get the Answers You Need About UM/UIM Coverage Today


Do you have more questions relating to the changes to UM/UIM coverage in VA? If so, we have the answers you need and the experience to provide you with quality representation for your car accident claims. Call The Joel Bieber Firm for a free consultation with a skilled car accident lawyer today.

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