Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Check your own insurance policy to see if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which is in addition to liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) covers your losses under your own policy when the wrongdoer is uninsured. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) covers additional losses under your own policy when the wrongdoer has insufficient coverage. Your rates cannot be raised if you utilize your own coverage if the loss occurred due to someone else’s fault.
However, if you waive out uninsured and underinsured coverage, you are completely reliant upon the wrongdoer’s liability limits, which could be non-existent or insufficient to cover your losses. When there is inadequate coverage by a wrongdoer, you can go after their personal assets. However, many times these individuals have little to no meaningful assets if they are either uninsured or insured for only the required minimum limits.
Many Phoenix Drivers Are Uninsured
It has been estimated that a third of Arizona drivers have no motor vehicle insurance coverage. Either they defaulted on paying their premium or have otherwise escaped the legal requirement. When a wrongdoer is uninsured, you will be relying on your own uninsured motorist coverage to cover your losses. If you have no uninsured motorist benefits (you waived out of being covered by this benefit), you may still have a claim against the wrongdoer. However, you may not be able to collect from them if they have no personal assets or other insurance to cover your losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you in discovering all relevant coverages and assets that may be applied to your losses caused by an at fault party.
Many Phoenix Drivers Are Underinsured
In Arizona, the current minimum required limits for liability coverage is $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident / $10,000 property damage. [New limits take effect on July 1, 2020 at $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident / $15,000 property damage]. However, if someone who causes an accident has only minimum limits, it may not be enough to cover your damages.
This happens too often especially if you were transported and treated at a hospital or required surgery or other extensive treatment following the accident. Medical bills can add up quickly. If this occurs, minimum liability limits would not cover your damages. Also, since you will need to pay back your healthcare providers out of your settlement proceeds, there may not be enough in the end to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance For Future Losses
When signing up for a car insurance policy, inform your insurance agent that you want to obtain uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage along with your liability coverage. Be sure to ask your agent questions as they must answer any of your questions with respect to your coverage. You want to avoid asking these questions after an accident only to learn you have no coverage for your accident losses.
An insurance company must explain the different coverages to you when you purchase a policy. However, they do not have a duty to explain it beyond your questioning or talk you into buying coverage outside the legal requirement. Insurance companies, although regulated, are for-profit entities. Less coverage means paying less claims.
Unfortunately, many individuals “waive” out of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on their own policy to save a few dollars on their premium payment. However, this decision can leave you empty handed if involved in a car accident where the wrongdoer has inadequate coverage.
Talk To An Experienced Car Accident Attorney
It is important to speak with a personal injury attorney who can research coverage issues and perform an assets check against any uninsured or underinsured wrongdoer pertaining to your motor vehicle accident. This will be necessary especially when you have declined uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage under your own policy.
Contact our office today for a free case evaluation concerning any coverage issue you may have pertaining to your car accident. There are no fees or costs unless we win or settle your case.