Recently relocating to the Omaha area from out of state required that dreaded task of updating the many accounts we held with a new address as well as updating all of our insurance requirements. After getting our new automobile insurance policy, I reviewed the declarations page only to be startled at my findings. The underinsured/uninsured (UIM/UM) amounts were only $25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurrence, not the same as the liability portion of the coverage. When making the change to the Nebraska coverage, I blindly assumed that my coverage would be identical to what it had been in my previous state of residence. I was wrong. Immediately, I called my insurance company to address the discrepancy and had to sign an acknowledgement requesting the increase in UIM/UM coverage and increase in my premiums.
According to the Nebraska Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist statute (§44-6408), insurance companies in Nebraska are only required to provide the minimum UIM/UM coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurrence, unless expressly requested, in writing, by the insured. Further, the statute provides that no insurance company is required to provide a UIM/UM policy of more than $100,000/$300,000, although they can if they so choose.
Why is this important? Nebraska drivers are only required to carry policies on their vehicles with a liability minimum coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurrence for personal injury. If you were to be injured, let alone significantly injured, in a crash that you were not at fault, that amount of coverage would not be remotely adequate to compensate you or make you whole. While maintaining the lower UIM/UM limit allows a lower premium, the difference in the premium is small for the amount of security that the additional coverage provides. If you were to be injured in an automobile crash where the at fault party did not have insurance, you would have an immediate claim under your UIM/UM policy. If the at fault party had only the minimum policy and you were offered the full policy of the at fault party, the statute requires consent from your UIM/UM policy holder to accept the offer and upon their consent, you then have the ability to make a claim against the UIM/UM policy. Overall, please do not assume that all the drivers that you share the roads with carry insurance, let alone an insurance policy that will make you whole upon a crash resulting in injury. Please check your policies and make sure that you are adequately covered if such an event occurs.