Posted on July 24th, 2015 by Zane Cagle
If you are in an accident and the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, will you be covered?
You may assume that since your state requires drivers to have auto insurance then most people have it. As a car accident attorney, I can assure you that is not always true.
Don’t just take my word for it. According to the Insurance Research Council, the number of uninsured drivers can reach 25 percent in some states. This is especially true when people are struggling economically. Many drivers may not have insurance or in many cases the appropriate levels of insurance.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage or UM?
Your uninsured motorist coverage can pay for injuries to you and your passengers, and in some locations damage to your property when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered “uninsured” or “underinsured”.
An “uninsured driver” is someone who does not have any insurance or had insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. A hit-and-run driver also usually counts as uninsured as it related to bodily injury.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage pays you for damages that exceed the payment limits carried by the driver who is considered underinsured. UIM will only pay up to the limits of your policy after subtracting the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance. If you have much of an injury at all, then the $25,000 limit of another driver that hits you is not really going to go very far for medical treatment, lost wages and other damages.
Why Would You Want to Buy Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
The real question is, “How can you afford not to buy underinsured motorist coverage?” Again, you don’t have take my word for it even though daily I work with clients who have serious injuries as a result of car crashes.
The Vice President of the Insurance Information Institute, Carolyn Gorman states, “You absolutely need this coverage, because, if you get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, you want to be made financially whole again. You have to protect yourself fiscally and physically, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection can help you in that regard.”
I’m the last guy to sing the praises of insurance companies. However, we aren’t going to change the concept of insurance today in this article. Ultimately, you need insurance. If you are in a motor vehicle accident, then the importance of insurance is paramount. Often I talk with individuals who have been in a crash and they want to sue the individual driver that hit them because they were injured and there the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance. Typically, if someone cannot insure their vehicle, they do not have assets to make a claim against either.
I don’t like to ever have my destiny or medical care in the hands of another which is why I have underinsured motorist coverage as well as uninsured coverage. It’s a way to be certain you are protecting yourself regardless of other’s level of responsibility.
Will My Insurance Company and/or the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Automatically Pay if I’m Injured?
There is not a “Yes/No” answer for that question. If the insurance companies always paid what the injury was worth, individuals would never have to hire a car accident attorney. If you are in a car accident, it is important that you one, seek medical treatment so you can get better and document the entire process from the crash to the medical treatment. I have written often on the steps you should follow after a car crash and I’m happy to speak with anyone individually after a crash to be sure you are taking the necessary steps to get the compensation you need and deserve. See a quick “5 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident”
Whether you are in a crash in Missouri or Illinois, our attorneys can assist you. Consultations are always confidential and free.
Call us seven days a week, toll free 1-800-685-3302 or locally 314-276-1681