An auto policy's UIM coverage differs significantly from first-party medical coverage. For example, first-party medical coverage, by definition, only covers medical expenses, while UIM insurance covers all damages for which an underinsured driver would be liable, such as pain, suffering, lost income, emotional distress, lost earning capacity, loss of consortium, and property damage, just to name a few.  So the difference is legal damages v. medical expenses. This is the main difference between the two and it becomes important on other matters your injury lawyer would handle for your personal injury case (like matters involving health lien subrogation interests or the like).

Legal Research for Above FAQ:  See California State Auto. Ass'n Inter-Ins. Bureau v. Carter, 164 Cal. App. 3d 257, 210 Cal. Rptr. 140, 143 (Cal. Ct. App. 1985). Moreover,
unlike first-party medical coverage, UIM coverage is fault-based, meaning that insured must establish a third party's liability in tort to trigger coverage. See ROBERT E. KEETON & ALAN A. WIDISS, INSURANCE LAW § 4.9(e)-(d) at 398- 404 (2d ed. 1987). Finally, while first-party medical insurance covers medical expenses up to the policy limits, UIM insurance only covers damages exceeding the third party tortfeasor's own insurance limits. Id.

Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to representing families of people injured in personal injury accidents including car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, product defects, and the like. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in an accident in San Diego, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in an California accident. 

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