What is UM or UMBI coverage?

During the course of your representation your attorney may ask whether you have UM or UBMI coverage on your personal auto policy. UM coverage stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and UMBI stands for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. These coverages are not required on your auto insurance policy, but can be purchased when selecting coverage for your vehicle.

While Louisiana law requires all motorists to carry liability insurance coverage on any automobile they own, many do not.  Worse still, many uninsured drivers are unaware that they do not have insurance.  Even those drivers who do have insurance may only carry the Louisiana state law minimum Bodily Injury Liability limits of $15,000 per injured person up to a total of $30,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability Coverage of $25,000.  This basic coverage is typically referred to as 15/30/25 coverage, and is often times insufficient to cover an accident victim’s injuries and vehicle damage even when though the driver at fault is insured to the minimum coverage required by law.

What is Uninsured Motorist coverage?

Because of the number of these potential uninsured or underinsured motorists on the roads, Louisiana law allows for both Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM), as well as Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) as additional coverage available beyond Louisiana coverage minimums.   This coverage serves to protect you against drivers with no insurance or too little coverage to pay the full amount for your injuries.  UM policies also cover passengers in vehicles who are hit by uninsured or underinsured drivers.

Uninsured Motorist coverage and Louisiana Law

Louisiana law also requires that a vehicle-owner’s automobile insurance policy will automatically include uninsured motorist coverage equal to the liability limits unless the insured vehicle owner specifically rejects uninsured motorist coverage in writing or otherwise requests lower limits.  This requirement is of paramount importance, as all vehicle owners signing up for a new insurance policy must carefully read their policy language and coverage to make sure that they have UM coverage, or know that they are actively and consciously rejecting it.  Every driver should check to make sure an uninsured motorist policy is in place unless he or she specifically waived that coverage in writing with his or her insurer.

Check your auto insurance policy coverage today

No one wants to be in an automobile accident.  The situation can become much worse if the driver responsible for the accident is not covered and cannot pay for the injuries sustained by you and your loved ones.  Check your policy today to make sure you are sufficiently protected against uninsured or underinsured motorists.

When should I claim under my uninsured motorist coverage?

UM coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has no insurance or not enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injury claim. Clients are often hesitant to make a UM claim with their insurance company for several reasons. Often clients are fearful their insurance company will drop them as customers or their insurance rates will increase as a result of filing a UM claim. Under Louisiana law, LA R.S. 22:1284 (2010) expressly states, œ No insurer shall increase the rate, increase or add a surcharge, cancel or fail to renew any policy of motor vehicle insurance when such action is based on consideration of one or more nonfault incidents. Therefore, this language in effect prohibits the cancellation of a policy or increase in premiums when a UM claim is made as a UM claim can only be made when a policyholder is injured through no fault of their own.

Don’t hesitate to file your UM/UMBI claim

Clients should not be hesitant to make a UM claim when the circumstances arise as this coverage is intended to protect you as an auto accident victim. After all, you are paying extra for this coverage and making a UM claim can pay for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages you otherwise may not be able to recover if the at-fault party has no insurance or not enough insurance.

Contact Morris Bart About Your Car Accident Injuries from an Uninsured Motorist

If you have been involved in a car accident injury with an uninsured motorist, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Morris Bart, LLC Attorneys at Law today.  We offer a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys, who will review the details of your case and advise you on the best approach to getting the compensation you deserve for your car accident injury.

January 2, 2013 | Categories: Auto Accidents, Legal Tips |