Most states legally require drivers to have auto liability insurance coverage. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), one in eight US motorists is uninsured. Being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver raises several insurance coverage issues. But you may still be able to recover damages from your own insurance company, as auto insurance policies include coverage specifically for such circumstances, known as Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you have been in an accident with a driver with no car insurance and they were at fault, you may use your uninsured motorist coverage. In such a situation, you may consider not to file a lawsuit against the responsible party, because drivers without insurance usually don’t have money either. It is best to make a claim with your insurance provider using your UM coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of coverage is useful when you are in an accident with a driver who has car insurance, but it is not enough to cover for your damages. In such a situation, you may ask your underinsured motorist coverage to up its limit. However, you must make sure that your UIM coverage is greater than the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver before notifying your insurance company of your intent for a UIM claim.
What does UM and UIM Generally Cover?
UM or UIM insurance may provide you with two types of protection:
- Property Damage: It may allow you to recover damages to your vehicle caused by an uninsured/underinsured driver, such as repairs, parts replacement, and others. However, property damage protection is not available in all states.
- Bodily Injury: This protection may allow you to recover the costs of your medical treatment for injures caused from the vehicle accident by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It may also cover passengers or a family member driving your car.
It is essential for you to understand how UM and UIM coverage works in your state. This will allow you to make the right decision whether you should turn to your insurance company for compensation or file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
How Does an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Claim Work?
As soon as you find out that the at-fault driver does not carry car insurance, you must notify your insurance provider right away of your uninsured motorist claim. Most auto insurance policies have strict deadlines in place when it comes to reporting uninsured claims.
A UM or UIM claim works in a similar way as a car accident claim. The only difference is that the claim is filed against your own insurance provider instead of the at-fault driver. The process typically includes pretrial investigation, depositions of witnesses, assessment of police report, and disclosure of medical records. However, one thing you should keep in mind that if you and your insurance provider do not agree on the amount of the settlement, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against them.
If you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, getting compensation for your damages may require the help of an experienced auto accident attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation.