What is UM / UIM Insurance Coverage?
Do you have the right coverage in place?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can be a very useful safety net for you and your family. It covers many of your losses after an accident when the at-fault party’s insurance is insufficient or nonexistent.
UM/UIM is an optional coverage in Louisiana, but we strongly advise including it on your insurance policy because a large percentage of drivers carry only minimal insurance or neglect buying insurance altogether. And if ever you are in an accident with one of those drivers, you will have to pay for your own losses out-of-pocket if you do not have UM/UIM coverage.
Below is a brief overview of what UM/UIM coverage in Louisiana entails and why you need it. For specific information or for help with a UM/UIM claim, call Hoffoss Devall today at 337-433-2053.
What does UM/UIM cover and when does it apply?
UM/UIM pays for your and your passengers’ economic (e.g., medical bills, loss of wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.) after a car accident that another party caused.
This type of UM/UIM coverage, commonly referred to as UM/UIM bodily injury (UMBI) does not cover property damage; to recover property damage compensation, you need to purchase UM/UIM for property damage.
There are several situations in which your UM/UIM coverage might apply:
- An uninsured driver hit you.
- A driver whose insurance policy limits were not enough to cover the full extent of your losses hit you. (This is quite common considering the fact that drivers only have to carry a minimum of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage. Even a moderate injury can require medical care that easily exceeds that amount.)
- A driver hit you and fled the scene.
Is UM/UIM really worth the extra premium?
When you purchased your insurance policy, you had four options:
- To choose “non-economic” UM/UIM coverage (which covers both economic and non-economic losses) in the same amount as your BI liability policy. This is the option we recommend. Note: In LA, you cannot have more UM/UIM than BI.
- To choose limited “economic only” limits in the same amount as your liability limits. This will not cover your emotional damages, but it will shave a few dollars off your premiums.
- To choose a policy limit that is lower than your BI liability limits.
- To reject all UM/UIM coverage.
UM/UIM is a relatively inexpensive coverage, especially considering how valuable it can be and how many drivers are uninsured or underinsured. Premiums vary depending on a plethora of factors, but most UM/UIM policies cost somewhere between $33 and $134 a year for $25,000/$50,000 of coverage, according to Value Penguin. That amounts to a couple of dollars a month for fairly substantial protection.
Consider this: nearly 14 percent of all drivers Louisiana are uninsured (even though it is unlawful to own a vehicle without carrying insurance), reports The Pew Charitable Trusts. Many are uninsured because of criminal records like DUIs, financial constraints, or accidentally letting their coverage lapse.
Because there is a good chance that you could be in an accident with one of them, it just makes sense to pay slightly higher premiums for UM/UIM.
Do I need to talk to a lawyer about a UM/UIM claim?
UM/UIM claims are notably complex. Multiple insurance companies may be involved, there might be disputes about liability, and you may be able to stack your insurance (i.e., use more than one policy) if you know how to manage your case correctly.
You would be best served by enlisting the help of a car accident lawyer equipped to handle cases of this nature and who knows how to get the maximum for your damages.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are a for-profit business, and they are not overly enthusiastic about cutting large checks — even to their own customers. Even though insurers are supposed to handle your claim in good faith, they often use a variety of tactics to either deny your claim or at least reduce your settlement. For instance, they might try to refute the extent of your injuries, unduly pin fault on you, or offer you a quick, lowball settlement before you fully understand the extent of your injuries.
We can help you navigate your claim, negotiate with insurers, and uphold your rights during the process. Our team will ensure the insurer does not take advantage of you; we will fight to explore all possible avenues of compensation and fight for a full and fair settlement on your behalf. And if we cannot reach a fair settlement, we can litigate the case in court and pursue a verdict in your favor.
Questions about UM/UIM coverage? Call Hoffoss Devall for a free consult.
If you were recently in an accident and have questions about UM/UIM or need help with a claim, call Hoffoss Devall at 337-433-2053 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer today.