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Is UM/UIM Coverage Automatically Added To Our Policy Or Do We Have To Request It?

Uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage must be offered but it may be declined or limited in some jurisdictions. In order to recover benefits under UIM coverage, you must first make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the liability limits of the at-fault driver are offered, generally you must contact your own insurance company to obtain permission to settle with the at-fault carrier and then make a claim for UIM benefits with your own carrier. If permission is not obtained, a claim has to be brought against the at-fault driver and your own insurance company. The procedures, timing, and sequence of events necessary to recover UIM benefits vary from state to state.

I Have Medical Insurance? Why Should I Purchase UM/UIM Coverage On My Car Insurance Policy?

Even if you have medical insurance, it is wise to purchase UM/UIM coverage on your own vehicle, given the degree of injury that can be caused in a motor vehicle accident and the potential enormity of medical bills. Under some medical insurance policies, there may be restrictions on access to medical care. These may include limitations on the medical providers that you have access to as well as limitations on the kind and number of treatments or procedures that are allowed under the medical insurance plan. Many health insurance plans, for example, limit the number of physical therapy sessions and limit the amount of mental health care sessions that are allowed in a given year. Many health insurance policies will have annual deductibles which must be met before medical insurance will pay and may be subject to co-pays which must be paid out-of-pocket. Keep in mind that medical insurance does not provide any compensation for loss of income or for pain and suffering which would be considered in payment made under UM or UIM coverage.

Is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Affordable For Everyone?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is normally made available in the same amount as the amount of liability coverage purchased. It is wise to get quotes for various amounts of coverage from insurance companies when purchasing auto insurance. In many instances, higher amounts of coverage can be purchased for relatively little additional cost.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being In An Accident With An Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist?

We see several misconceptions that people have when they are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured. Some individuals are under a mistaken belief that it is to their advantage to obtain payment from the at-fault driver and avoid the hassle of dealing with the insurance companies, particularly if the at-fault driver is offering an upfront cash payment. In most instances, this would be unwise. Acceptance of payment directly from the at-fault driver would likely impair your ability to obtain Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage under your own policy. In most cases, the full extent of damages, especially in cases involving a personal injury, may not be known for some time. We advise against any quick personal injury settlement before the full nature and extent of injuries and damages are better known.

Another misconception is that making an uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist claim with your own carrier will allow the at-fault driver to escape personal responsibility. The law provides for uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance to protect responsible motorists and innocent passengers. If you file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company, your own carrier will often seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver. The uninsured motorist may face suspension of his or her driving privileges. At-fault uninsured motorists or underinsured motorists will likely be charged higher premiums on future auto insurance.

Clients also frequently ask, “If I make a claim on my own policy for uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist benefits, will my insurance company raise my premiums or cancel my insurance.” If the accident was caused by someone else, insurance companies are prohibited from raising your premiums or canceling your insurance just for filing a UM or UIM claim.

Is There A Certain Time Limit To File An Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist Claim?

There are time limits to file Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist claims, as well as very specific procedures that have to be followed which vary from state to state. Each jurisdiction has its own statute of limitations or legal deadline for bringing UM and UIM claims. The legal deadlines and how they are determined vary by state. Each jurisdiction has very specific procedures which must be followed when attempting to settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for their policy limits while reserving a right to pursue a claim for additional compensation with your own carrier for underinsured benefits. It is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction so that you can be fully advised on how and when these claims must be brought.

For more information on UM/UIM Coverage On A Car Insurance Policy, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 251-0030 or (301) 251-0030 today.

Steve H.Drone

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case.

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