Each week clients ask, “why do I need to give you MY car insurance information when I wasn’t at fault?” There are at least 5 scenarios where you may need to use your auto insurance after an accident. If either of these five scenarios occur, your accident attorney needs to determine if you have the “right” type of automobile insurance coverage. This “right” type of coverage is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and is commonly referred to as “UM coverage.”
What is UM Coverage?
UM coverage allows your insurance company to “step in the shoes” of the at-fault and uninsured driver to provide coverage for your damages and any medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. UM coverage is an additional form of coverage to protect you and your family in the event that that at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
As we discussed in last month’s blog article, “full-coverage” is an insurance myth. If you carry liability, collision and comprehensive, as most drivers do, then you do not have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. If you are reading this article and don’t know whether you have UM coverage on your auto insurance policy: STOP RIGHT NOW! Call your car insurance agent or review your car insurance policy on your phone to see if you have UM coverage. If you don’t, it should only cost you a few extra dollars per month to buy this amazing peace of mind.
Five situations in which you need to have UM coverage
- Cancelled Insurance Policy: Even though it’s against the law to drive a car without insurance, one out of every eight drivers is uninsured. These uninsured drivers create havoc when they cause accidents. A driver’s insurance policy can be cancelled for any number of reasons, such as non-payment, the vehicle was sold, someone on the policy has a bad driving record, etc. You need UM coverage to protect yourself from these drivers and policyholders.
- The At-Fault Driver Isn’t Cooperating With The Insurance Company: Insurance companies routinely deny coverage for claims simply because the at-fault driver fails to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. This is because most insurance policies have a “duty to cooperate” clause. By failing to respond to and cooperate with this provision can result in the policy being cancelled. You need UM coverage to protect yourself from the greedy insurance companies.
- The At-Fault Driver Provided False Information: Unless your accident resulted in serious and life-threatening injuries, it can sometimes take hours for the police to show up to the scene. If this happens, most drivers agree to exchange their insurance information at the scene instead of waiting on the police. STOP RIGHT THERE! Never trust the at-fault driver. The insurance information they so willingly provided can turn out to be false, expired or cancelled. If this happens to you and you don’t have UM coverage, then you will be left holding the bag for the damage to your car, your medical bills and lost wages.
- Hit & Run: Being in an accident is tough enough. But it’s so much worse when the at-fault driver flees the scene. After a hit and run accident, you don’t know who hit your car and the police are not likely to find the at-fault driver or owner. Therefore, there is no insurance to make a claim against. Hit and run accidents are on the rise – you need to protect yourself from these reckless drivers by adding UM coverage to your automobile insurance policy.
- Underinsured / Your Injuries Exceed The Available Policy Limits: One of the more common and scary instances in which you need UM coverage is when the at-fault driver is “underinsured.” An underinsured driver is someone who does not have enough automobile insurance coverage to pay for your injuries, medical bills and lost wages. In Georgia, the minimum policy limits are $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 per accident. But if you are seriously injured, your medical bills alone could exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits. If you don’t have UM coverage, then you are going to be stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and just maybe just $25,000. Unless the at-fault driver is independently wealthy or you have UM coverage, you are going to be stuck with these bills.
No one plans to be in an accident. No one can control the type of insurance or even the insurance company of the at-fault person. Nor can you control if the at-fault person has car insurance at all. However, all of the above-described situations can be avoided – by adding UM coverage to your automobile insurance policy.
Add UM Coverage to Your Policy
The time to act is now, not after you’ve already had an accident. Typically, for a few dollars a month, you can add UM coverage and buy yourself the peace-of-mind that provides you security and protection in the event of an accident. Sure, it may seem unfair to have to use your own insurance when the accident was not your fault, but the alternative is to be left with a pile of unpaid bills and no compensation for your pain and suffering. Don’t let yourself be caught holding the bag! UM coverage is just another way for you to protect yourself from these irresponsible individuals.
If you or a family member has been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you need to hire an experienced attorney. At Georgia Trial Attorneys, we can assess your case and help you understand all of the available insurance coverage. We will help you fight against the greed of the multi-million and multi-billion dollar insurance companies. Just call 833-4TheWin.