When you go to sign up for your auto insurance policy, there can be an overwhelming amount of information. There are also a significant number of choices you will need to make. One such choice will be whether you want uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage and, if so, how much coverage you want. In order to make an informed decision, you should be aware of how UM coverage works and the potential benefits of carrying this additional coverage.
How Does UM Coverage Work?
In California, there are minimum insurance coverage requirements for all drivers. For instance, drivers must carry at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage. Furthermore, drivers are required to carry property damage liability coverage in the minimum amount of $5,000. While drivers are not required to carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, it must be explicitly offered by the insurance company in the minimum amount of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident with a UM property damage coverage minimum of $3,500. UM coverage must be explicitly waived by the policyholder. The waiver the policyholder must sign will state that he or she was offered the UM coverage option but declined to carry it.
The Insurance Information Institute reports that, in 2015, 15.2% of California drivers were uninsured. Over the past year, difficult economic conditions have fallen on much of the country, which means that this percentage has likely increased as people look to cut costs in any possible way. This is important to note because one situation in which UM coverage comes into play is when you are injured in an accident caused by someone who is uninsured. If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can file a claim pursuant to your UM coverage to seek compensation for your losses.
UM coverage can also play a critical role should you be the victim in a hit and run accident. If the other driver leaves the accident scene and cannot be located, you will have the option of accessing your UM coverage benefits in order to compensate you for your losses. Furthermore, UM coverage can become available should the other driver carry bodily injury liability coverage, but not in an amount sufficient to adequately compensate you for your losses. In this situation, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company pursuant to his or her bodily injury liability coverage. Once you have exhausted that coverage, then you may file a claim with your UM carrier seeking the rest of the compensation needed to make you “whole” again after the accident.
Essentially, UM coverage is an added layer of protection. UM coverage will help ensure that you are properly compensated should you be injured in an accident caused by the negligent action or inaction of another. Due to the possibility of being involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, an underinsured driver, or a hit and run driver, the UM coverage option should be properly weighed and considered.
Personal Injury Attorneys
For more information on required and optional auto insurance coverage, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at SoCal Injury Lawyers are here for you. Not only do we have extensive knowledge of insurance laws, but we also stand up to the big insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve for injuries suffered in an auto accident. Contact us today