Another week of work has ended, and you’re cruising along the highway, glad to be done. The weekend has started, and your mind wanders to the exciting things you plan to do. Suddenly, you hear a loud screen and feel a hard crash. Another driver has just hit you! Being involved in a serious car accident and ending up as an injured person is bad enough, but at the back of your mind, you may be thinking that if the other motorist was to blame for the accident, then you can claim compensation.
After pulling over to the side, you begin talking to the other driver and quickly realize they do not have car insurance. The fact that the driver has a non-insured vehicle complicates things. Is there anything you can do about it? You shouldn’t worry if you’ve uninsured motorist insurance (UMI) because it will cover your bodily injuries and/or property damage.
At Singleton Law Firm LLC, we’ve helped many victims to file uninsured motorist claims successfully, and we can help you as well.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Let us begin with the basics. Under state law, a minimum amount of car insurance is mandatory for every driver. Why? It is instrumental in situations like the one described above. The insurance company of the other driver at fault will be required to pay for the accident even if the driver does not have money, depending on the state’s negligence laws. Financial responsibility laws mandate this type of cover known as “liability coverage.”
In addition to losing valuable wages, you could also miss work due to your injury.
You can avoid this problem by purchasing UM or UIM coverage for your car insurance. These types of underinsured coverage cover you and your passengers for medical costs and other expenses when you are involved in an auto accident caused by:
- A driver who does not have liability insurance;
- An uninsured driver who leaves you liable for your medical bills;
- The insurance company of the driver refuses to pay the claim or fails to renew the policy.
Underinsured motorist coverage can pay for:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages if you can’t work because of the car accident;
- Pain and suffering compensation;
- Funeral expenses;
- Across the country, some states offer underinsured motorist insurance, or vehicle damage coverage.
Other states mandate underinsured motorist coverage, which you can reject in writing if you do not want it. However, certain states do not require uninsured motorist coverage, so you need to ask your insurance company to offer it. UM coverage is usually a good idea if it’s available in your state.
4 types and variations of uninsured motorist coverage
The term uninsured motor vehicle also includes an insured motor vehicle whose liability insurer can’t meet the legal liability limits set forth within the policy provisions due to insolvency.
Uninsured motorist coverage falls into four main categories:
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury (UM or UMBI) – pays out when the at-fault driver causes an accident.
- Property damage caused by uninsured motorists (UMPD) – covers damage to your car if a motorist hits you without insurance. Some states’ UMPDs cover hit-and-run accidents. Georgia State doesn’t allow UMPD coverage. However, collision coverage can be used to pay for repairs.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UIM or UIMBI) – pays for expenses related to an accident caused by another driver but not enough with their own bodily injury liability insurance policy and, therefore, cannot pay for all your medical treatment bills, lost wages, etc.
- UIMPD (Underinsured Motorist Property Damage) covers damage to your car if someone without enough liability insurance hits it.
Motorists are required to carry insurance
A minimum liability car insurance policy is required in almost every state. But many drivers drive without it. The Insurance Research Council estimates that one out of every eight motorists is not insured. Despite following the rules of the road, you are still vulnerable to accidents caused by uninsured drivers. According to Georgia statistics, 12.4% of drivers on Georgia’s streets are uninsured.
Are uninsured motorists policies necessary? It may seem counterintuitive, but you might want to add UM coverage to your automobile insurance policy if it isn’t required in your state.
Several factors to consider:
- Is there another auto policy that covers car accident injuries? Medical care bills incurred after an underinsured motor vehicle accident are paid by underinsured motorist coverage. UM coverage may not be necessary if you have a good health insurance plan. In contrast, if you have a high deductible health insurance plan and would likely pay large sums for hospitalization, UM would make some sense.
- The uninsured motorist benefits are that you do not have to pay your coinsurance, copays, or deductibles. In addition to providing some health benefits not covered by insurance, UM also recovers lost wages and pays for pain and suffering.
- According to the most recent report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average claim payment for UM injuries was $28,825.
- What other car insurance do you have? Unless you reside in a state that does not offer uninsured motorist coverage, you may not need it. Damage to your car can also be covered by collision insurance if another driver hits your car. It will cover a wide variety of situations, not just an underinsured driver.
Where do motorists not carry the required minimum coverage?
However, there are situations where motorists do not carry the required minimum coverage. Does it mean you’re out-of-pocket for your expenses? No, UMI will cover it. If you choose to buy this coverage, your auto liability insurance will pay for injuries to you or your passengers in the following situations:
- Another uninsured driver was responsible for the accident;
- Dealing with underinsured drivers (the insurance company will pay too little for the damages);
- A hit-and-run accident.
How does uninsured motorist coverage work in Georgia?
- Requirements for buying UM or being offered UM – It must be offered.
- Can you reject UM in writing? – Yes, you can.
- Minimum UM coverage amount – 25/50.
- Is UMPD required? If so, the minimum coverage amount – Yes, UMPD is required. The minimum coverage amount is $25,000.
- UMPD deductible – $250.
Is UMI a mandatory requirement?
Depending on where you live, the UMI is usually optional, and states have different options, including available uninsured motorist coverage limits, mandatory requirements, and coverage choices. Purchasing this coverage as part of your policy is a good idea, as it will help you handle unexpected and often unavoidable uninsured motorist accidents.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage insurance (UMPD) covers damage to your vehicle or other property, and some insurance providers provide it.
How to make an uninsured motorist accident claim?
Okay, what do you do? Well, if the other motorist does not have auto liability insurance, you can sue them. However, it’s doubtful the uninsured driver has the resources to cover your damages if they do not have liability coverage in the first place. Also, you can make an underinsured motorist claim to your insurance company.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of uninsured motor vehicle accidents and auto insurance claims:
- An uninsured driver rear-ends you at a stoplight. You should file a UM claim with your auto insurance company since the at-fault driver has no insurance. If you have uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage (UMBI), you will file an auto insurance claim under that coverage. If you have uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD), you will file a claim under that coverage.
- A driver hits you in the crosswalk although he does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for all of your medical expenses. The first step is to claim with the at-fault driver’s motor insurance or to sue the at-fault person and receive money from their liability insurance. Under your own car insurance plan, you would take out a claim for underinsured motorist bodily injury (UIMBI) to cover the additional expenses.
- You park your car in a city garage. However, the other driver didn’t leave any information about him when you find it damaged and hit. UMPD coverage covers hit-and-run accidents (if your state allows it). In our situation, unfortunately, Georgia is one of the states that won’t allow UMPD coverage for hit-and-run accidents. File a claim under your collision coverage if you don’t have UMPD or if your state doesn’t allow the use of it.
Talk to a car accident lawyer
You’ll want to contact your insurance providers as soon as possible since many insurers have time limits regarding filing uninsured motorist accident claims. If you fail to meet the deadlines, you may be prevented from pursuing fair compensation.
A claims adjuster will take up your case and conduct a thorough investigation on whether or not you have the proper coverage and who the at-fault motorist was. There’s always a possibility of your insurance agent rejecting your underinsured motorist claim. Especially when we talk about the recovery of punitive damages. Every case is different and dependent on unique facts.
It’s essential to be familiar with the insurance laws in Georgia and how you can seek compensation if you’ve damages due to an uninsured motorist accident. If you’ve additional questions or concerns, you should consult our uninsured motorist accident attorney at Singleton Law Firm LLC.
Call us today at (770) 889-6010 or fill out the contact form to schedule a free case review.
FAQs about the uninsured motorist claims
What is the difference between uninsured motorist coverage vs. underinsured motorist coverage?
Most states require you to have auto insurance. Even if you are a smart driver who follows the rules and has the right coverage in place, there are still people who are driving without adequate personal injury protection. Is there anything you can do when you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have enough liability coverage or none at all?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage steps in to help here. Coverage provides financial protection to you in the event you are involved in an accident with an at-fault motorist that does not have comprehensive coverage.
What does an uninsured motorist cover?
When an uninsured driver causes damage, uninsured motorist coverage helps cover the cost. A driver like this is at fault for a crash, which is covered by your policy of insurance to the extent of the limits. If you are hurt or your car has been damaged, this coverage may help pay the costs.
UIM and UM claims are made against the health insurance company. If no settlement can be reached in a reasonable time frame, a demand for arbitration is filed.
Will an uninsured motorist cover my car?
The UMPD (Uninsured Motorist Property Damage) covers your car if you are hit by a driver without insurance.
Plus, the coverage is available for any person who suffers bodily injury or property damage as a result of an accident involving your vehicle and another motor vehicle that has no liability insurance. The policy limit covers all additional damages up to $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence.
You must have this type of coverage on your auto insurance policy in order to be eligible for UMPD benefits.
Will uninsured motorists cover hit and run?
When you’re hit by an uninsured motorist, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical payments coverage and lost wages. Accidents involving hits and runs can also be covered under uninsured motorist coverage. Under uninsured motorist coverage, a collision deductible is typically not required.
Unfortunately, in the state of Georgia, accidents involving hit-and-run driver accidents are not covered.
Does an uninsured motorist cover a rental car?
An uninsured motorist policy pays for the damage caused by another driver who didn’t have an applicable insurance policy. A rental car will not be covered for property damage if there is no uninsured motorist coverage.
Should I buy UM coverage for property damage?
In addition to collision coverage, as long as uninsured motorist coverage is optional in your state, you can skip the uninsured motorist coverage, as they both cover damage from drivers lacking auto insurance coverage. This type of UM coverage includes the cost of repairs to your car, extra costs if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough property damage liability insurance, and damage to your residence or other items.