Why You Should Consider Getting Uninsured Motorist Protection
The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that 1 out of every 7 drivers in the United States are currently uninsured. The State of Louisiana is estimated to have 13% uninsured motorists in 2012, which is close to the national average. This presents a difficult challenge for all motorists and insurance providers, considering that an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can result in significant expenses that aren’t covered by a minimum-requirement liability insurance policy.
In order to protect drivers who do follow the law, many states are now requiring uninsured motorist coverage in their car insurance policies. This can help with costs associated with damages or injuries after being involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist.
Additionally, drivers may have the option to purchase uninsured motorist property damage that covers damages to your vehicle and/or other property caused by an uninsured driver in an accident.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Protection?
In the unfortunate event of an automobile accident, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage – also known as uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance – will cover you and your passengers for:
- Medical expenses, up to and including wrongful death
- Lost wages or compensation
- Pain and suffering
Under this type of car insurance policy, you and your vehicle’s passengers will also be covered by insurance, even if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Sometimes uninsured motorist coverage can be used to offset the costs if a driver has some liability insurance, but not enough to cover your injuries and/or damages.
Many states also have laws requiring uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance in order to protect drivers in their state from financial disaster after an accident. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD); however, is typically not required and may not be offered at all in some states. If UMPD coverage is offered in your state, you should consider purchasing it. One accident with an uninsured driver could leave you with significant bills to cover your property damage or medical expenses, especially if the accident was very serious.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage applies when the other driver is determined to be at least partially at fault for the automobile accident, and:
- Has no insurance, or
- Has inadequate insurance coverage
If your insurance company pays a claim under this policy, then they will also subrogate against the negligent motorist in order to recover their damages; however, because many people who do not have enough insurance coverage have few or no collectible assets, recovery may not even be possible. This is where your uninsured motorist property damage coverage would prevent a financial disaster to you and your family.
In addition to paying for the damages to your vehicle, uninsured motorist property damage coverage may also cover damage to other personal property. Examples of personal property that may be covered when damaged include:
- Your house
- Your fence
- Personal items, such as your laptop or cell phone
NOTE: Making an insurance claim under this type of policy causes you to become a third party to your own insurance company. You will be reimbursed for your auto accident claim as if you were a third party, which could put you in the opposing side against your insurance provider.
As soon as you know the at-fault driver is underinsured, you should make your underinsured motorist claim immediately. Typically, the time for such claims is limited, and a policyholder may be given as little as 30 days to discover their need for the claim.