For the majority of drivers on the road, carrying car insurance isn’t something they do just because it is the law — they also do so because it simply makes good sense. It is a means of protecting not only the money you invested in your vehicle but also yourself and your passengers. Should an accident occur, your insurance is supposed to be there to provide you with assistance and prevent you from suffering financial damage when you’re at fault. In an ideal world with 100 percent insurance coverage, this would mean that every driver is also sure to receive compensation from the insurer covering someone who causes an accident.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in that ideal world. In California, you may have heard from your car insurance provider that you can choose to carry an additional policy called “UM” or “UIM” insurance. These phrases stand for “uninsured” or “underinsured motorists” and serve to protect you if you get into an accident with someone who has no coverage to pay for your damages. Should you carry this type of coverage?
For the vast majority of California drivers, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Why?
The Risk of Encountering Uninsured Motorists is High
Although California law sets several requirements for the kinds of insurance that all motorists must carry, there is a very high number of uninsured drivers within the state. According to some research, the number could be as high as 15 percent of all the drivers on California’s roads. That means roughly one in every six or seven drivers you encounter on the highways and byways of the Golden State may not have the insurance coverage you’d need to cover your damages fully in the event of an accident. With so many accidents occurring every day, that represents a serious risk.
There Could Be Serious Consequences From the Accident
No matter how good a driver you are, there’s no accounting for the way that others will drive on the road. A day that starts seemingly normal could turn into something life-changing as a result of an accident. A severe injury could occur, or you may require an extended hospital stay in the wake of the event. If an underinsured motorist is at fault, how will you foot the bill? Just like regular insurance should protect you from the financial damages of accidents that you are at fault for, UM/UIM coverage provides you protection for your own damages when the other uninsured driver is at fault for the accident.
Understand Your Policy and Maintain Good Coverage
No two UM/UIM policies are the same. When your insurer offers you this coverage, always take the time to read the policy thoroughly. Understand what kind of damages the insurer will cover as well as the limitations of the language used. Be careful to avoid paying for policies that seem to provide a useful safety net, but which contain too much exclusionary fine print to be of use in a real scenario. In addition, make sure you purchase sufficient UM/UIM insurance coverage, at least $250,000 worth of coverage.
Protect Your Rights When You’re Injured By An UM/UIM Driver
Insurance companies talk a good game when it comes to selling policies, but not every insurer truly has your back when an accident occurs. Even if you do carry UM coverage in your policy, an insurer could find a reason to deny or dismiss your claim. When you’re in a car accident causing harm, speaking to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is ideal. File your claim with your insurer but take no further action until you’ve had a chance to consult on the appropriate next steps. At HHJ Trial Attorneys, our car accident attorneys can assist you in determining your rights and the next steps to take in processing your UM/UIM accident claim. To find out more, get in touch today.