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Know the Law – Uninsured Drivers

Posted at 8:45 AM, Jul 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-14 08:46:04-04

Purchase Underinsured Motorist Coverage

It is common for auto accident victims to acquire injuries due to the negligence of a driver who either didn’t have liability insurance to begin with, or had an inadequate amount of liability insurance. In a situation like this, the uninsured driver is not collectible and the underinsured driver isn’t collectible beyond their policy limits, which often caps at $20,000. And $20,000 usually isn’t nearly enough to cover catastrophic damages. However, if the injured party had previously purchased underinsured motorist coverage, they can make a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage Protects Your Family

Sound complicated? Here’s how underinsured motorist coverage works. Say you’ve purchased an optional underinsured motorist coverage policy and are injured in an accident as the result of someone else’s negligence. You discover the other driver’s limit caps at 20,000, which isn’t nearly enough to cover your costs. Through your underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim through your own policy. Furthermore, if you didn’t purchase underinsured motorist coverage but are a passenger in a vehicle that was covered by this optional coverage, you will likely also be covered by that policy.

Strict Rules for Pursuing a Claim

There are certain strict rules that must be followed so that the underinsured motorist claim is not jeopardized. For example, underinsured motorist policies typically require that the injured person completely exhaust the negligent party’s liability limits before pursuing the claim. In addition, most policies require that the injured person obtain written consent from their insurance company before settling with the negligent party. There may be other very important conditions set forth in the policy that must be complied with in order to pursue this type of claim, such as shorter notice-of-claim requirements. Failure to follow these policy conditions can result in the loss of underinsured motorist benefits. Once again, extreme caution is necessary to protect these claims. Always speak with an attorney if you’re unsure how to process your claim.