If an uninsured or underinsured driver caused your accident, you would likely need to rely on your policy’s uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage to take care of your damages. If you’re not sure if you carry this coverage or if you’re having problems collecting a fair settlement, consult a local accident attorney for counsel. For a firm that handles UM/UIM injury claims in California, call Hiden Rott & Oertle, LLP for a free consultation at 619-296-5884.
How UM/UIM Coverage Works in California
UM/UIM is an optional coverage for California drivers. It covers your damages for injuries up to your policy’s limit when you’re in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver, or when you’re hurt in a hit and run accident. It is an excellent coverage to have considering the following:
- California’s minimum auto insurance coverage is a mere $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident. This is often insufficient.
- Many people sidestep the law and drive without insurance. There are almost 30 million uninsured drivers in America, and California has the highest number of them (4.1 million), according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC).
Insurance companies in California are required to include UM/UIM on your policy unless you deny it in writing. Many people with tight budgets opt out of this coverage to save a few dollars on their monthly premiums. But it’s a decision that can wind up backfiring if they’re ever in a serious or catastrophic accident.
Who does your UM/UIM policy cover?
UM/UIM doesn’t only cover you if you’re a driver. It also covers you when you’re a passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or bystander. Plus, when you carry UM/UIM, all of your household family members are covered, as are anyone who rides in your car or who you allow to drive your car.
Filing a UM/UIM Claim
If you’ve been in a serious accident, start collecting as much evidence as possible to support your claim and speak to an attorney about your legal options. If you use your UM/UIM after an accident, note that it doesn’t cover your property damage, but it does cover your lost wages and pain and suffering up to your policy’s limit. If you are due compensation, your lawyer can help ensure your claim includes the entire amount of your damages.
It may feel like an injustice to have to use your own policy to cover your damages when someone else is to blame for your accident. Know that you are not alone, however. The number of UM/UIM claims is on the rise in America. They’ve risen by 75 percent over the last decade. In 2012, insurers doled out $2.6 billion for UM claims and that figure excluded fatalities and total permanent disability claims, according to the IRC. Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, SVP of IRC, explains: “Responsible drivers who pay for insurance end up also paying for injuries caused by uninsured drivers… The heightened levels of uninsured motorists and the rising claim payments involved still remain a concern for insured drivers, insurers, and policymakers.”
Before filing your claim, let one of our attorneys review your case
Before settling any major accident claim, it’s always a good idea to have an attorney review your case. You may have other legal options worth considering, and you may be entitled to additional compensation of which you’re not aware.
You can call our legal team in California at Hiden Rott & Oertle, LLP for a free consultation to discuss your case. Our lawyers have experience in UM/UIM claims and can advise you on the best course of action to take. Contact us today at 619-296-5884.