In both UM and UIM you are protecting yourself and others in your vehicle from the possibility of an individual either lacking insurance or having insufficient insurance to cover you.
Unless you opted out of your UM coverage, you likely have it. That is because State law requires the provision of UM coverage when policyholders purchase insurance. The only way to lack it is to willingly opt out of it in writing.
There are varying coverage’s which include the following:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI). UMBI will cover injuries that were sustained in an accident when an uninsured driver who is the at-fault party.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM). UIM will cover damages and injuries caused by an accident when the at-fault party does not have enough coverage on their insurance policy to pay for all your damages to make you whole again. Also, UIM coverage is a subsection of UM coverage.
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD). UMPD will cover your property damage (for example, your vehicle) from a car accident with someone who is not insured and is the at-fault party.
An Uninsured Motorist vehicle can be categorized into three different areas. (1) When a vehicle is NOT covered by liability insurance. (2) Where there is a hit and run situation or an unidentified driver situation. (3) When an insured’s insurance company goes out of business, rendering the policyholder without insurance.
In contrast, an underinsured policy is a policy that will be triggered when the party at fault has coverage that is below what is necessary to make the injured party whole again. At that point, the injured party can go into their own insurance to make up the difference, depending on the type of underinsured policy that is held. Note: this will not impact premiums.
To be eligible to use UM/UIM coverage you must be hit by a vehicle, and need not be traveling inside a vehicle. Further, you must be named on the policy to use it or be a family member of someone named and live at the same address. However, if you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you, you will also be covered if the owner of said vehicle has UM/UIM and gave you permission to drive. You and anyone in the vehicle will have eligibility to use the coverage.
If you happen to find yourself in this unfortunate situation, after a car accident, you can assert your claim by establishing that the at-fault party does not have insurance. This will require you to file (1) an SR-1 and (2) an SR-19 DMV form. The SR-19 will need to be accompanied with a $10 check.
Regarding statute of limitations, you will have a two year window from the date of the accident to file lawsuit against the at-fault-party. When you are using your UM/UIM coverage, you can only arbitrate a claim. The window to complete arbitration is five years from the date of the accident.
If you have any questions regarding your coverage or have been involved in an accident and would like to discuss your options, please call us at HM Legal group at 818.660.5088.