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Archive for tag: underinsured motorist

Why You Need UM Coverage

 

UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED COVERAGE:

 

When it comes to driving around in your car, nothing is more important than being safe. Accidents happen every day, leaving people injured or even possibly dead. You cannot put a price on your own life or the life of others which is why you should make sure that you are covered by means of insurance.

Of course, not all insurance policies are affordable. Many of them are ridiculously expensive and people refuse to take out such a policy. Even though this may be better on their pockets at the end of each month, it is not wise to drive around without it. This is where uninsured and underinsured coverage plays a vital role.

In Louisiana, it is required by the state that every person driving a car should have some form of insurance attached to them or their vehicle. It is one of the many states where you could be jailed or fined if you drive around without the safety net of insurance. Many people that can’t afford insurance policies, as mentioned above, opt for underinsured coverage. This makes sure that you and your family is still protected without you having to pay through your teeth at the end of every month.

The UM policies are beneficial when it comes to both parties involved in an accident: those who caused it and those who victim to it. Unfortunately, not all motorists comply with the law as set by the state of Louisiana and not only can they get into big trouble in the event of an accident, but so can you. UM or UIM kicks in so that both persons are protected to any lengths necessary.

Let’s say that you are driving an insured car and someone with an uninsured car drives into you, causing your car to be written off completely. The law states that you should be able to claim expenses from the other person involved, but how will you do that if the other person is not insured at all? UM makes sure that you get the necessary funds in order to build your car back up again with as little money coming from your side as possible. UM will also pay your wages for the time you can’t go to work because of the injuries you have sustained after such an accident. What’s more is that UM and UIM policies will help you pay for the medical costs and your injuries so that you do not have to.

As you can see, UIM and UM policies have many great benefits, but it does not only stop there. It goes the distance to ensure that you are covered when faced with such an enormous financial backlash. Accidents do not only cause worry in a medical aspect, but it can cause unnecessary stress when you have to worry about all the bills you have to pay afterwards. Here are a few more reasons why UM and UIM policies can be beneficial to you, your family, and the car that you are driving:

Health insurance does not always cover all the medical expenses

We know how sticky health insurances can be. A hospital stay can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and even deplete your entire plan just by covering these costs. When you are involved in an accident, the health insurance will pay for these costs, unless you are also on an UM or UIM plan. This plan will pay your bills immediately before you hospital plan or health insurance even has time to kick in. Another reason why this is a better option is because you will be able to get your wages even though you have missed work due to the hospital stay. A health insurance plan will definitely not do that.

It protects you when you are hit by an uninsured driver

As we have already mentioned, this is the prime goal of the UM and UIM plan: to protect you when an uninsured driver is the cause of an accident. In order for your UM or UIM policy to kick in it is important that you follow the procedure pertaining to an accident otherwise it might all be for nought. Write down the details of the other person as well as their insurance details if they have any. Take down their personal details, their licence disk number, and call the police immediately, even if it is a minor accident. The information will then be taken to the claims department of your insurance and it will be dealt with accordingly. This process may take a while especially if injuries have been sustained. The medical aid and medical bills will take longer to sort out than the normal claim disputes.

It takes into account comparative negligence laws

Some states follow comparative negligence laws where part of the blame is shifted to each side of the accident. To use an example: Driver 1 rams into Driver 2 at the stop sign at the end of the road. But it was dark and Driver 2 did not have his headlights on. The insurance companies will then calculate how much of the blame should be shifted to each person so that they can collect damages accordingly. The UM and UIM policies protects people in such cases so that there is no unfair rule being made. This also means that you cannot claim for any accident; if it was your fault then you will have to reimburse the victim.

It protects you when you are hit by a driver whose insurance cannot full cover you

It happens that some insurance policies don’t pay out enough so that both parties are covered.  This is where UM and UIM policies complement the auto insurance of the other person. They will help pay the excess fees if you do have enough money in the fund itself. This way you will not have to dig a hole into your savings to make sure your car is paid off or that your medical bills are taken care of. 

What happens if my damages are greater than the insurance money available for the claim?

Unless your defendant is a solvent business, or an individual with considerable assets, it will be extremely difficult to recover more than the limits of the other driver’s liability coverage plus your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM).  In theory it can be done (the driver at fault is personally liable whatever his insurance coverage is), but in practice it rarely happens.  The best thing you can do to prevent such a situation is to purchase as much liability coverage as you can, and UM coverage at the same level.  

What can I recover if the other party isn’t insured?

In this blog post, Yigal Bander discusses the importance of UM covergae.  In some instances, it may be the only way for you to get any compensation for your injuries.

 

 

If the other party isn’t insured, you can recover from your own insurance company if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM).  It’s always a good idea to purchase UM coverage with the same limits as your liability coverage.  If the other driver was in a company vehicle, or even in his own vehicle but working for an employer at the time, you can recover from the employer.  Otherwise, if the other driver is uninsured and not on the job, and you don’t have UM coverage, it may be difficult if not impossible to recover at all.

What does “full coverage” mean?

There is a common misconception concerning the term "full coverage" as it pertains to your auto insurance policy. In this post, one of our civil trial lawyers- Yigal Bander- addresses this issue.

 

The term “full coverage” means different things to different people.  Many people say they have “full coverage” when they have liability coverage, collision (which pays to fix or replace your vehicle after a crash regardless of fault), comprehensive (which pays to fix or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged for reasons other than a crash, or if it’s stolen), and maybe some “bells and whistles” like rental coverage and roadside assistance.  But that leaves out the most important coverage you can buy, which is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM).  Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays you for your injuries, up to the limits of the coverage you buy, if the other, at-fault driver has no liability insurance, or doesn’t have enough liability insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries.  Louisiana law requires your insurance company to sell you UM coverage with the same limits as your liability coverage unless you opt out of it, or elect something less, which you should never do.  On the contrary, you should always make sure you buy full (not “economic only”) UM coverage with the same limits as your liability coverage.  That’s real “full coverage.”