How to File an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you are involved in an accident with a driver that is either has no insurance (making them uninsured) or without sufficient insurance to cover your bills (underinsured), you should check with your insurance company to see if you have adequate uninsured motorist coverage. There are approximately 28 million drivers in the US without insurance coverage which translates to approximately 1 in 8 drivers. This means that the risk of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist is very real.
In our recent post, A Guide to Negotiating Your Uninsured Motorist Claim, we discuss what this type of coverage is and highlight some of the most effective ways to negotiate those claims.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
Uninsured motorist coverage is additional liability insurance coverage that covers property damage and bodily injury sustained as a result of a driver without any insurance coverage. It will cover medical bills, vehicle damage, and other aspects of your insurance claim if you are hit by an uninsured driver or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. It is generally paid out through a driver’s own policy. Using your UM coverage will very likely not raise your insurance rates.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
Similar to UM coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is meant to become available if you are hit by a driver that does have insurance coverage, but there is not enough coverage for your personal injury costs, property damage, and other claim components. In Maryland, for example, the minimal insurance you are legally required to carry is $30,000. In Virginia and DC, it is $25,000. That means, for example, if you are hit by a MD driver with a $30,000 policy, and the value of your claim is $100,000, the at fault driver’s insurance will only be able to pay $30,000. If you have underinsured motorist coverage above $30,000, such as a $100,000 policy, then your claim will be fully paid through both carriers (the first $30,000 from the at-fault, $70,000 from your UIM policy).
Do I Have UM/UIM Coverage?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not mandated by all states, but Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia all do require UM/UIM coverage. In DC, there is an exception to this, as taxi drivers or ride-share drivers are not legally required to carry this coverage, and often times these policies do not carry it. In Washington, DC, coverage minimums for uninsured motorist bodily injuries are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, and $5,000 for uninsured motorist property damage. In Maryland, coverage minimums are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for uninsured motorist bodily injuries, and $15,000 for uninsured motorist property damage. In Virginia, coverage minimums are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for uninsured motorist bodily injuries, and $20,000 for uninsured motorist property damage. If you are insured in Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia, you should have this type of coverage as a component of your insurance policy. Make sure to check with your insurance company or agent to confirm coverage availability and coverage type.
How to File a UM/UIM Claim
Claims for UM or UIM are filed with your own auto insurance company following an accident. If you are in an accident, you should report the accident to your insurance company and provide them with the other driver’s information. Your insurance company will evaluate and investigate the accident, pull police reports, and communicate with the other driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your claim (medical expenses, property damage, etc.), then your auto insurance policy can cover the difference.
While your uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance should provide you with appropriate coverage following an auto accident, car insurance companies are often committed to paying as little as possible for an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. While you may think that your own insurance company is on your side, they are still motivated to reduce payments while collecting insurance premiums and deductibles.
Get a Free Consultation
If you have been in an accident with a driver that is underinsured or uninsured, or you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should speak with one of our personal injury accident lawyers to maximize your claim and fight for you. Our team will evaluate your policy, the liability coverage, and the coverage limits of the other driver. We will then communicate with your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company to represent your interests in filing an injury claim or property damage claim. Contact us today for a free consultation!