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  • Will Your Uninsured Motorist Policy Protect You in an Accident?

    Written on August 12, 2014

    If you own a car, the law requires you to have automotive insurance. As a driver, we must have the minimum amount of $25,000.00 of coverage for bodily injuries. What happens when the other driver either has no insurance, or the injuries you’ve received are more extensive than the other driver’s coverage?

    When this happens, the first place we look to is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) on our own insurance policies. This provision is specifically included in most insurance policies. If you take a look at your own coverage, you will likely see that you are covered. However, if you do not see it in your policy, I urge you to call your auto insurance agent right away and get the best UM coverage you can afford. Don’t continue to drive your car without this kind of coverage!

    What does this mean to me as a driver?

    There are two types of UM coverage. The names for them are as numerous as are the insurance companies who provide them, but generally you will see that the policy is either a “reduced” policy or an “add-on” policy. The names used by the company logically follow these general terms, so be sure to look at your own policy to see what you have.

    The Add-On Policy:

    An add-on policy is exactly what it seems to be: if there isn’t enough insurance from the other driver to completely compensate for the damages you’ve suffered, then after payout of the other driver’s insurance limits in full, your own policy will pay up to the limits of your policy “added on to” or “in excess” of the limits of the other driver’s policy.

    The Reduced Policy:

    A reduced policy is the exact opposite. The amount you recover from the other driver’s insurance is subtracted from the available limits of your policy, and therefore the amount you can recover is also reduced by that amount.

    Case Example:

    I recovered $25,000.00 from negligent driver “A” for my herniated disc. However, my surgery cost was $80,000.00 and I’m in pain now, and was then. My UM policy provides $25,000.00 of insurance coverage.

    • Add-on: My total recovery is $50,000.00.
    • Reduced: I get no more money than what I got from the other driver.

    Case-in-point: Get the best policy that you can afford. Take notice, that even with $25,000.00 of Uninsured Motorist add-on coverage, with medical bills alone, there was a shortage of $30,000.00.

    This situation becomes even worse with the reduced coverage policy. When this is the case, there is a gap of $55,000.00; and all this without even considering pain and suffering, disability rating, loss of use, loss of function, loss of… you name it. An injury like the one described in the example, is typically worth about $300,000.00 – $600,000.00 depending on many factors. Despite the severity of this type of injury, the victim is victimized again because there isn’t enough money to go around.

    You may ask the question “Couldn’t I just sue the other Driver for unpaid bills due to the accident”?

    Yes, but it’s usually not a good idea, without insurance. This is because a judgment is worth about as much as the paper it’s printed on. If the other driver doesn’t have the money to pay the judgment, you’re stuck. It’s highly probable that you won’t get paid.

    With all this said, the solution is to get as much add-on coverage as you can afford. If you are in need of an accident attorney to represent your case, please call The Silverbach Group at 770-635-0334.