When we ask clients to tell us about their automobile insurance coverage, “I have full coverage,” is usually the answer. The phrase “full coverage,” however, is misleading. “Full coverage” generally refers only to having liability coverage (to protect you in the event you are liable, or at fault, for the accident) and comprehensive and collision coverage (to repair or replace your vehicle in the event of theft or damage for any reason). These options only cover very specific risks. If you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault and have to deal with a motorist that is uninsured or underinsured, it’s important to have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, commonly called “UM/UIM coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to pay damages that are a result of injuries and property damage caused by a driver who does not carry automobile liability insurance. The State of Georgia requires that motorists carry coverage in the amount of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident, but there are people who drive without insurance. There is also a chance of a hit and run, where the at fault driver cannot be identified and therefore there is no liability coverage available. The best course of action in this case is to utilize your policy’s uninsured motorist coverage and seek advice from a professional.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the costs from the accident are not completely covered by the at fault driver’s insurance policy. As discussed above, the State requires only minimal coverage. If you are hospitalized or require surgery of any type, $25,000.00 is usually a drop in the bucket. Carrying UIM coverage allows you to make a claim for the difference between the expenses from the accident and what the at-fault driver’s policy will cover, up to the limits of your coverage.
It is also important to remember that this UM/UIM coverage can protect you if you are struck as pedestrian by an uninsured/underinsured motorist. UM/UIM from family members who live with you and work vehicles may be applicable to your claim as well.
In order to utilize your coverage, however, you have a very strict time line to report the claim. Therefore, we recommend notifying your insurance carrier of the accident as soon as possible, even if you are not sure what type of coverage you have and whether or not you may need to use it.
If you have been in a car accident, contact the professionals at Reynolds, Horne and Survant for an insurance review to ensure compliance and proper notification to all possible insurers. Our lawyers can assist you with notifying the appropriate carriers, requesting the appropriate documentation and guide you in the event that recorded statements or additional documents are required to initiate a claim.