Every driver in the state of California is required to have auto insurance by law. As a California driver, you must at least carry liability auto insurance coverage to help pay for damages suffered by someone else when you are determined to be at fault for a collision. But what happens if you get into an accident with a driver who doesn't have any insurance - or not enough insurance? That's where uninsured and underinsured auto insurance comes in. These are also referred to as UM and UIM coverage.
These types of coverages can make a big difference in the outcome of a circumstance in which another driver is responsible for your injuries and damages in a car accident but does not have enough auto insurance coverage to pay for the full extent of the harm you have endured. Below you will find more details that you need to know about this important auto insurance coverage.
What is underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage?
Underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage are two types of car insurance that every driver should be aware of. Uninsured auto insurance covers damage and medical costs if you are involved in an accident with another driver who does not have car insurance.
Underinsured auto insurance will cover injuries and damages beyond the limits of the other driver's policy. It is important to understand the differences between these two types of coverage, as they can provide crucial financial compensation in case of an accident.
There are typically two types of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage – uninsured/underinsured bodily injury and uninsured/underinsured property damage. Bodily injury coverage typically covers medical bills for you and/or your passengers, as well as lost wages if you can’t work and pain and suffering damages. Property damage covers damage to your vehicle.
Understanding both options can help you make sure you are fully protected when driving on the road, regardless of the actions of other drivers.
Who needs underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage, and why?
Uninsured and underinsured auto insurance coverage is essential for many drivers, such as those who live in states with high uninsured motorist rates, as well as those with little to no financial resources.
Uninsured and underinsured coverage protects you if you are ever involved in an accident with someone who does not have enough or any insurance to cover the damage. It provides coverage even if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, and for those who drive your car with your permission.
It can also provide protection if you are ever hurt by a hit-and-run driver with no insurance at all. However, in order to obtain insurance proceeds from a hit-and-run driver, there must be physical contact between your vehicle and the hit-and-run vehicle.
Where are drivers required to have underinsured and uninsured auto insurance?
Even though all states require some form of car insurance, not all states mandate that drivers purchase uninsured and underinsured auto insurance. Some states require uninsured and/or underinsured coverage to be offered by insurers to all drivers unless they specifically decline it in writing. In states that require uninsured and/or underinsured coverage, a person must buy at least the state’s minimum (usually the amount of your liability coverage).
In California, underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage is not required by law, but it may be wise to carry it anyway. California is on the list of the top 10 states with the highest percentage of uninsured motorists. Knowing this, it can be a good decision to add this type of coverage to your policy.
How much does underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage typically cost?
Uninsured and underinsured auto insurance can be relatively affordable for most drivers, depending on the scope of coverage desired. Shopping around for different quotes allows individuals to get the protection they need while staying within their budget constraints. Automobile owners should research what type of insurance coverage they need in relation to their financial situation.
When does underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage apply?
In California, uninsured and underinsured auto insurance applies only if the other driver’s liability limits are lower than your uninsured and underinsured auto insurance coverage. For example, if the driver who caused the collision has a $15,000 liability policy and you have a $15,000 UM/UIM policy, you are not entitled to any benefits under your policy. However, in the example above, if you had $30,000 in UM/UIM coverage, you could make a claim for up to $15,000 from your policy.
Uninsured and underinsured auto insurance policies have a number of requirements that must be met in order to trigger coverage, such as exhausting the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy and providing proof (such as a copy of a settlement agreement and/or settlement check) to your insurance carrier that has been done. Some policies also require that your underinsured and uninsured auto insurance claim be litigated via arbitration versus through the civil court system. It’s important to read your policy and understand what requirements must be satisfied to make a claim for underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage.
It’s Important to Be Prepared for the Unexpected
When it comes to driving on the road and being around cars, it's beneficial to be as prepared as possible for any situation that could occur. That is why underinsured and uninsured auto insurance coverage is so important. This type of coverage can help you financially if you are ever involved in an accident with a driver who does not have enough auto insurance or any at all.
We’re Here for Injured Crash Victims
If you have sustained injuries and damages in a car crash with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you may be eligible for compensation to help cover your losses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team of personal injury lawyers right away with any questions you may have about your case or the legal process in general.
We have helped many others in similar situations, and we will do everything in our power to assist with your claim too. Don’t delay—the skilled team here at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP is ready and willing to fight extensively for the compensation you deserve.
Call our Los Angeles attorneys at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online to get in touch with someone from our team about the details of your case right away. We will fight to recover your full and fair compensation.