Everyone should have underinsured motorist coverage.
There are two certainties when driving amongst the public. (1) Most people are driving with minimal limits. In the case of Nevada, that means the other driver is likely driving with 15/30 limits meaning $15,000.00 coverage per person per accident and $30,000.00 maximum coverage per accident. This is the statutory minimum in Nevada. (2) You do not have sufficient coverage to fully compensate you for damages you suffer as a result of an accident caused by someone else.
A common scenario we are faced with is a client who got hit by someone with minimal coverage who has damages well in excess of the $15,000.00 minimum. While it is important to have sufficient liability coverage to protect yourself should you cause an accident and injure someone else, it is more important that you have sufficient underinsured motorist coverage to protect you for when you get hit by that motorist with insufficient coverage.
This is how it works. If you are involved in an accident, the other driver is at fault, and they cause you to be damaged in an amount in excess of the other driver's policy limits, your underinsured motorist coverage would pick up the difference. In other words, if you have $100,000.00 underinsured motorist coverage and the driver at fault has $50,000.00 liability coverage but you are damaged in the amount of $75,000.00, your underinsured motorist carrier would pay you $25,000.00 after you have received the driver at fault's $50,000.00 liability coverage.
The answer to the original question, "how much do I need" is simply "as much as you can get." Most carriers will offer underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of your liability limits. You need to make sure your underinsured motorist coverage matches your liability coverage. If it doesn't, call your insurance agent today.
Until next time, happy motoring.