When you got your auto insurance, you may have been asked whether you want UI/UIM coverage, or it may have been automatically added. This coverage is for accidents with uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists.
An Atlanta car accident lawyer will want to see if you have this coverage when you talk with them about your auto accident. They provide another route to compensation in some cases. How does uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage work?
How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works
Drivers in nearly every state are required to carry auto insurance, but that doesn’t mean that everyone follows the law. Standard auto insurance is called liability insurance. It pays victims if you’re the one responsible for an accident.
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, then you cannot make a liability claim against them. That’s when your uninsured motorist coverage activates. You can make a claim with your own insurance policy and get compensation that way.
This also covers you if the other driver committed a hit-and-run and cannot be found. It may also cover you in accidents caused by phantom drivers, which are drivers who caused an accident and left the scene without being hit.
Get the strong arm
How Underinsured Motorist Coverage Works
Underinsured motorist coverage pays you when your damages exceed the amount of liability coverage the other driver carries. If you have $75,000 in damages and they only have a $50,000 policy, you can use underinsured motorist coverage to make up the difference.
If you hit the policy limit and you need more money, you would have to go to trial and persuade a jury and judge that you deserve more. This is a risky and expensive maneuver, requires you to hire a personal injury lawyer, and it puts your fate in the hands of others.
Underinsured motorist coverage gives you a much easier way to get more than the standard minimum policy amounts most drivers carry. It can keep you out of court, and a claim against it does not raise premiums by that much compared to other claims.
How do I Get Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia require this coverage if you have auto insurance. All states are required to offer it if you buy insurance. Adding it to your policy is simple. Just call your insurer and ask if you have this coverage and how to add it if you don’t.
If you just bought minimum insurance, the amount you’ll have will depend on your state. Some states require the same coverage amounts as a standard liability policy, and some don’t. You can choose to buy more than the minimum for a higher rate. This is wise if you have an expensive vehicle or limited health insurance.
Some states will split out these policies into property damage and bodily injury parts. You may see these as UMPD and UMBI on your insurance card. The former covers property damage and the latter bodily injury by uninsured and underinsured drivers.
Hit and Run Drivers and Subrogation
If you make a claim against a hit-and-run driver under your uninsured motorist coverage and get paid, that doesn’t stop the search for the driver. The police will still seek the driver because they broke the law. If they catch them, how does that affect your compensation?
Your insurer will use a legal process called subrogation to sue the driver or their insurer to get the money back they’ve already paid you. You may also be able to make a claim against the driver’s insurer for any remaining damages not covered by your UI/UIM coverage.
You should not have to pay anything back, but getting more from your accident after a hit-and-run driver is arrested can be difficult. It depends on how much time has passed and other circumstances. Talk with one of our car accident lawyers to get answers about your specific situation.
How does UI/UIM Accidents Work If I don’t Have This Coverage?
If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and you get in a wreck where they would apply, then you will need to find other ways to get compensation. Here are the common routes.
If the other driver has no insurance and you don’t have UI/UIM, you’ll need to use other insurance policies or sue the driver directly. Your health insurance may cover the costs of your injuries, and collision coverage may cover the cost of your property damage.
Sometimes, you can successfully sue the other driver directly with the help of a lawyer. However, it may be difficult to get enough money from them to pay for your damages if they don’t have it. Our lawyers can tell you the pros and cons of this approach.
In hit-and-runs, there’s the possibility they may have insurance once they’re found. Here, you can pursue a claim like other car crashes.
Underinsurance coverage doesn’t start unless you max out the other driver’s policy limit, so chances are you’re facing severe injury or property damage. Like with uninsured coverage, you could turn to health insurance or collision coverage to pay for the remainder.
You could also sue the other driver directly for the rest, but the same caveats apply. You may win your case, but if they don’t have the assets to pay for your damages, then it may take a very long time to get it paid back, if at all.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Works to Protect You
For just a little more each month, you can protect yourself from two of the most unfortunate car insurance situations: finding out the other driver has inadequate or no insurance.
Your state may already require you to have this coverage, but if you don’t have it or don’t have enough, we encourage you to speak with your insurance agent about your options. If you have further questions about how these coverages apply to your accident, speak with our lawyers in a free consultation.