Injury Recovery Group
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Using your uninsured motorist coverage

When you bought your auto insurance policy, your agent should have offered to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. California law requires insurance agents to offer this added coverage, but you are not required to purchase it. However, it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, so you agreed, and you were right to do so since California has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country at 15 percent.

Maybe money got tight for you at some point, and you considered cutting the UIM option from your policy, but you wisely changed your mind. Unfortunately, the driver who plowed into you made a different choice and was driving with no insurance coverage at all. Now you must put this policy to good use.

The basics of UIM coverage

If you are confused about how your UIM coverage works, you are not alone. In fact, many aspects of the insurance industry are complicated and confusing, and they may seem even more confusing after an accident when you need them most. However, the basic idea behind UIM coverage is that your insurer will cover the costs that the at-fault driver's insurer would have covered if he or she had purchased a policy.

It seems simple, but it isn't always simple when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. Some key points to know about using your UIM policy include:

  • If you have UIM for property damage, you may have to pay a deductible.
  • UIM for bodily injury generally has no deductible, and it covers your medical bills related to the accident.
  • UIM will cover your expenses above what the other driver's insurance covers if the other driver's policy is not enough.
  • UIM coverage will also protect you if you are a pedestrian who is hit by an uninsured motorist or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

How much UIM coverage you carry is important. Most insurers recommend a minimum of 100/300 for bodily injury, which means a maximum of $100,000 per individual with a total of $300,000 for everyone who is injured in your vehicle. If you understand how rapidly medical bills can climb after a serious injury, you can see how easily you can max out your coverage while still needing care.

Perhaps the most frustrating part is that your insurance company will likely make you battle for every dollar, or they will offer you a quick settlement before you are able to fully ascertain the scope of your injuries. This is why having legal advice is critical after an accident with injuries. Not only will an attorney fight for a fair settlement from your insurer, but you will have strong representation if your case is suitable for a civil claim against the other driver.

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