September 2017 Legal Compass

Mastering Your Auto Insurance

Your child gets hit by an uninsured driver while walking to school. The hospital bills are in the tens of thousands. What do you do?

Did you know that your auto insurance policy may be the solution? You can get the bills paid if you have uninsured motorist (“UM”) and underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage. This is very important insurance to purchase because it is designed to protect you and your family (whereas liability insurance is designed to pay for the injury to others).

DRIVER AT FAULT HAS NO INSURANCE

If the driver of the vehicle at fault doesn’t have any insurance then your UM will pay for the injuries sustained by you and your passengers. Using UM doesn’t increase your premiums because you didn’t cause the accident. However, if you only carry minimal UM then you may be left with substantial unpaid medical bills. Not to mention, you will be left without any compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages and other economic losses.

DRIVER AT FAULT – INADEQUATE INSURANCE

UIM works in a similar fashion except it applies in situations where the driver at fault has insurance, but his/her policy is too small to cover all of the medical bills and other damages. But UIM only pays out to the extent your policy exceeds the insurance held by the other driver. For example, if both you and the other driver only have a minimal policy and you have $50k in medical bills, the other driver’s policy will pay $15k and your policy will not pay anything. However, if you have $100k/300k, then his policy will pay the first $15k and yours will pay the balance plus there will be money available for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.

BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

People don’t realize that if you or a member of your family are riding a bicycle or walking and are struck by an uninsured or under-insured driver these same rules will still apply and you can seek recovery from your own insurance policy.

UM/UIM – LOW COST FOR BIG BENEFIT

UM/UIM are relatively inexpensive for the benefit they provide. To quote Jay Welther, my auto insurance agent, “Why carry a lot of insurance for the other guy and nothing for yourself?” I can’t stress enough the importance of having high UM/UIM insurance to protect those who are most important in your life.

SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL PROMPTLY FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT

If you or a member of your family has been harmed by the negligence of another driver, it is important you seek proper counsel as soon as you can after an accident. The laws, rules and procedures governing presenting a claim can be complex and insurance companies are motivated to limit your recovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR STEFANIE COVER, COVERLAW PC

Stefanie is the firm’s Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Partner. Stefanie has a unique background and perspective on personal injury matters in that she worked for several insurance companies prior to entering private practice. She has been helping people recover from the harm caused by the negligence and intentional acts of others for over 25 years.  She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), has successfully tried multiple complex jury cases to verdict and has the respect of her colleagues, adversaries and judges. Stefanie is frequently on “The Bottom Line” program with Roger Marsh on KBRITE Radio AM740, aired 3:00-5:00 p.m. weekdays; online at KBRT740.com.

Stefanie Cover, CoverLaw PC  CoverLaw.com  877-214-4935