If you have been in a car accident caused by another driver, you may need to file a claim under the uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist provisions of your automobile insurance policy.
These are different (but related) provisions of your auto policy and come into play when the negligent driver either has no insurance or insufficient insurance coverage, to pay for the bodily injuries and/or property damage you acquired as a result of a car accident. Below is some information on these two types of coverage and how they work.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
This is the coverage in your policy that will pay for out of pocket expenses like medical bills and for general damages such as pain and suffering if the at-fault driver does not have liability coverage. The uninsured motorist coverage insurance is said to “stand in the shoes” of what would have been the liability insurance company for the at-fault driver who does not have insurance.
In most, but not all cases, you will know whether the at-fault party has liability insurance on the date of the accident. The police will likely have that information if they investigate the accident. If the at-fault driver states he/she does not have insurance, you should consider making an uninsured motorist claim as soon as possible.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
This is coverage that covers the policyholder when the at-fault party has liability coverage, but that liability coverage is not enough to cover the full value of the injury claim. For example, let’s say the injured party (fault-free party) incurred $20,000 in medical bills and her other damages such as pain and suffering are to be valued at approximately $30,000. That means the entire claim would be worth $50,000. Let’s also assume that the at-fault party carried only the California state minimum of $15,000 of liability insurance for a single claim. We will also assume that the fault-free driver had $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. In this case, the at-fault party would pay its maximum payout of $15,000.00 and the fault-free driver’s uninsured motorist insurance company would pay the remaining $35,000 for a total of $50,000.
Why You Should Have Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, most people do not carry adequate liability insurance. The best way to protect yourself against a negligent driver is to carry sufficient UM coverage so at least there will be money available to compensate you for somebody else’s negligence. Otherwise, you are relying on the other driver to carry sufficient insurance. Adding a sufficient amount of UM coverage to your policy will probably not cost you as much as you might think. We suggest you ask your agent for a quote, you can always decide not to take the extra coverage.
Your Coverage Can Be Limited
In most cases, insurance carriers will not allow you to be covered for more uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage than you carry for your own liability. Luckily, for most, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is inexpensive and worth it in the event of an accident involving under/uninsured motorists.
Call Car Accident Attorney Mickey Fine
It is important to act quickly in the event that you are in an accident with a negligent driver that is underinsured/uninsured. In California, that statute of limitations for a car accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. While this may seem like a long time, the claims process can drag on. Mickey Fine is a caring car accident lawyer with experience in dealing with underinsured motorist claims.
If you or someone you know is involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact our car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, so we can discuss providing you legal representation for your injuries. We will do everything in our power to get you the help and compensation you deserve.