Am I An Underinsured Driver?
If your vehicle's policy limit does not cover all of the damages sustained during a single auto accident, you are underinsured. In most cases, an underinsured driver has purchased only the minimum policy required by state law. Underinsured motorists become personally liable for all auto accident damage they caused beyond their insurance limits. However, in many cases, the underinsured person has no personal assets, leaving the injured party without property compensation for their damages.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
If your policy includes underinsured motorist coverage, you are protected even if the party responsible for the damage is underinsured. If you carry underinsurance coverage and are injured by an underinsured driver, you may be able to collect the maximum amount ("policy limits") from the other driver's insurance, plus be paid by your own insurance company for your injuries beyond this amount. Very few states require drivers to hold underinsured motorist coverage, but it can be extremely helpful if you are seriously injured in an auto accident where the other driver has limited insurance coverage.
Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Always Work To My Benefit?
Your underinsured policy may state that you can settle with only your insurer. If you have already settled with the other driver's insurance company, such a policy does not require your insurance company to pay. Even if you have received compensation for only a portion of your damages, your underinsured motorist coverage may not provide any additional support. Therefore, you must be familiar with your policy before beginning the recovery process.
How Do I Collect From My Insurance Company?
There are several steps which must be taken before you receive benefits under your underinsured motorist coverage. Most insurance agencies require proof that:
- The underinsured driver was at fault;
- You suffered significant injuries; and
- You collected from the at-fault driver's insurer before collecting from your own, or you did not collect from the at-fault driver's insurer (if such a requirement is mandated by your own policy).
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Because automobile insurance requirements vary by state, a local personal injury lawyer will be able to answer questions about your individual situation and to provide advice about disputes involving underinsured drivers.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 03-08-2011 03:19 PM PST
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