Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims
Uninsured and under-insured drivers are a huge burden to this country. The rates for insurance coverage are higher for everyone who does the right thing by being insured. Insured drivers are forced to absorb the negative impact that negligent drivers cause everyone. Most auto insurance policies have included coverage in case one is in an accident with an uninsured driver. The default amount of coverage against uninsured drivers is usually substantially less than the amount of liability coverage a person chooses. Check your policy to make sure the liability coverage of an accident caused by you is similar in amount to your uninsured motorist coverage. Often with policies, the uninsured motorist coverage will cover you even if are not in a car if an accident happens. Examples of this would be if you were struck by a car while riding a bike or walking. Uninsured motorists are those that you can identify in an accident and those who commit hit-and-run accidents.
Under-insured motorists are those who have insurance, but their liability coverage amount is not sufficient to match the monetary damage of the medical and property damage an accident incurs. Let’s say, for example, that an accident results in $100,000 damages. The motorist at fault has only $30,000 liability coverage. This is where under-insured motorist coverage would help out. The insurance company would pay the difference of $70,000 -- the amount that the under-insured motorist was unable to cover. The insurance company would then pursue the under-insured for the difference their coverage was short on. Some states only require the insurance companies to pay the difference between the under-insured person’s coverage and your policy amount of coverage for under-insured motorists. Other states allow you to collect the full amount of liability the under-insured driver had in addition to your full amount of under-insured motorist coverage.
Having coverage against uninsured and underinsured motorists does not necessarily spare you loss in the financial, emotional, or health arena. Also, depending on your insurance carrier and state laws, YOU might be expected or obligated to take on the costs of pursuing a payout from the uninsured or under-insured person before the insurance company will pay your claim. Check with your provider to see what they would do in these situations. Most people are not eager to jump to litigation. However, where an auto accident is concerned, never assume that insurance companies are going to do the right thing and provide the coverage you have faithfully paid them to provide for years.
Make sure you check your auto insurance policy carefully. Know what amount you have in case of an accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver. Have your policy changed if the amounts are not adequate? In the US, an average of one in seven accidents involve uninsured drivers. This number is only going to increase as economic situations degrade.
Be on the safe side if you are in an accident -- contact a lawyer immediately. You are obligated to pay faithfully on your policies for years, all the while assuming that the insurance company will have your back if anything happens. Advice is available if this assumption turns out to be false. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our legal experts review the facts for you. Remember, there is never a fee unless we make a recovery for you.