Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to protect automobile insureds and resident family members who are involved in car accidents with irresponsible drivers who have inadequate insurance of their own and cause harm. https://www.michigan.gov/difs, “Your Guide to Automobile Insurance.” (State of Michigan, Department of Insurance and Financial Services). Currently, the law only mandates that a motorist have combined bodily injury limits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident if several people are injured. See MCL 257.520(b)(2). In many cases, the collectability is limited to the amount of insurance coverage which could be $20,000 or even zero if the at-fault driver was uninsured. According to the Insurance Research Counsel, Michigan has some of the highest number of uninsured drivers. www.insurance-research.org. (Starting on July 1, 2020, the minimum bodily injury requirement will be increased to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident).
When uninsured and underinsured coverage has been purchased by a policy holder, an insurance company may be required to pay additional compensation to its insured for damages that the insured would have been entitled to receive if the at-fault driver had adequate coverage to compensate the accident victim fully for his or her injuries. The coverage is usually inexpensive and is sold by most insurance companies. The coverage is typically bundled in an automobile policy as an additional form of insurance coverage listed on the declaration page of the policy. Since uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is voluntary coverage and not mandated by law, insurance companies and insurance agents are not required to offer or sell you this coverage.
Watch Out for Policy Exclusions That Can Void Coverage
In order to recover uninsured/underinsured coverage benefits, a claimant must be able to establish that the other driver was at-fault for the accident. Some policies require that there be physical contact between the insured and at-fault driver’s vehicle. Hit and run accidents are normally covered however many policies require that the accident be reported to a law enforcement agency within 24 hours. Many insurance policies contain exclusions buried in the fine print which may bar an otherwise valid claim for benefits. Policies will exclude coverage where an insured occupies a motor vehicle that provides the same or similar coverage. Policy language will frequently bar a claim for underinsured benefits where an insured settles a claim with the at-fault driver without the written consent of the insurance company. Insurance companies require this language in order to protect their right to seek damages against the at-fault driver. Some policies have provisions requiring that their insured join the uninsured driver as a party defendant in a lawsuit. Other insurers require obtaining a Judgment against the at-fault driver before becoming liable to pay the coverage.
It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if this coverage will provide you with additional compensation if you are the victim of an auto accident as a result of the negligence of a third party. We recommend that every policy holder strongly consider purchasing uninsured and underinsured coverage to protect your family. Please review our pamphlet on our website for preferred insurance companies that offer this coverage.
Logeman, Iafrate & Logeman, P.C., is a personal injury law firm that has helped accident victims recover the compensation they need to rebuild their lives and take care of their families for over forty-five years. Our law firm has helped countless clients throughout Michigan recover losses including: car accidents, uninsured accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, pedestrian accidents, traumatic brain injury, no fault, and more! Please feel free to contact the firm at any time for advice or for help with your personal injury claim.