So picture yourself driving home from work or school and BAM; you get rammed into by another vehicle. You call the police and they come out to the scene to investigate the crash. After speaking with all parties, all of a sudden the police let you know that the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance.
Not only are you faced with either having to get your car replaced or repaired on your own dime. To make matters worse, you wake up sore the next day and in pain. Now you're in need of medical treatment for your injuries and no idea how to pay for it. What (if anything) can you possibly do? That’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes in!
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) is a coverage that protects you in the event you’re involved in a wreck with another at fault driver who does not have valid insurance coverage or does not have enough insurance on their policy to fully compensate you for your injuries or damages.
Why do I need UM Coverage?
For starters, Louisiana has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the entire nation. Keep in mind that our state’s minimum insurance requirement is only $15,000.00 for liability coverage. That means that one individual person can only recover $15,000.00 TOTAL per collision.. If you are seriously injured, Your medical bills alone could easily exceed $15,000.00.
Even with these low minimums, drivers continue to ignore state mandated insurance limits and drive without proper auto coverage. This problem has only gotten worse since the Covid pandemic with drivers failing to pay their premiums and allowing their coverages to lapse. If a driver seriously injures you or a family member do you feel that $15,000.00 is enough to compensate you for all possible medical bill liens, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses that you may face?
UM Coverage is included but usually waived
I cannot recommend enough that everyone explore carrying Uninsured Motorist Insurance (“UM”) on their automobile insurance policies. UM is not mandatory and insurance agents often try to get their clients to waive this coverage by passing off as savings on your premium. Louisiana law actually states that all policies include UM coverage unless you EXPRESSLY reject the coverage in writing.
I strongly suggest that you do not sign any waiver you do not fully understand without consulting with a knowledge professional first. Often times, the cost of carrying UM coverage is relatively minimal and YOUR RATES WILL NOT INCREASE IF YOU MAKE A CLAIM.
So what type of UM do I need?
Generally there are 4 main types of UM coverage:
Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM or UMBI).
Covers medical bills, pain and suffering, & lost wages.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM)
Covers same as above when underlying limits aren’t sufficient.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance (UMPD)
Covers property damages only.
Uninsured Motorist Economic Only (UMEO or UME)
Covers ONLY lost wages and medical expenses.
All 4 types are beneficial, but it is most important for you to carry UM & UIM coverages.
Most people always claim that they have “Full coverage” on their auto policy. This DOES NOT automatically mean that you have UM. You must be sure to not reject this coverage. Often, you can select to have UM coverage equal to or less than your own liability limits.
This is additional insurance to protect YOU. Liability coverage only protects the other party should you cause a collision. UM coverage is an added protection for YOU in the event you are involved in a wreck with someone who has little or no insurance to pay for your claim.
Your rates WILL NOT increase should you need to utilize your UM coverage. The only way you can enact this coverage is if you were NOT at fault for the wreck. In Louisiana, it is ILLEGAL for your insurer to raise your rates for a wreck you in which you were not at fault.
This article was written and intended for information purposes only. It is NOT to be considered legal or professional advice regarding injuries or accidents. Please personally contact our office to speak with an attorney for any legal assistance you may need.