Obtaining Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is very important, especially in California where the minimum amount of liability insurance required to be carried by drivers is only $15,000 and where there is also an incredibly large number of uninsured motorists on the road. UM/UIM coverage is provided by your own insurance company. It’s critical for you to have UM/UIM coverage if you’re involved in an accident and the person who hit you is uninsured or has a very small policy and your personal injuries are substantial. You are able to pursue the balance of your UM/UIM policy after first subtracting the amount, if any, of the at-fault party’s policy limits. For example, assume you have a UM/UIM policy of $100,000. You were involved in a car accident where the person who hit you has a $15,000 minimum policy. You sustained a broken arm, broken foot and extensive neck and back injuries. The value of your claim is well beyond the small $15,000 policy of the at-fault party. As such, once you have obtained the whole policy of the at-fault party, you can then seek additional compensation from your UM/UIM policy. The amount you can pursue is calculated first by subtracting from your policy amount (i.e., $100,000) the amount of the at-fault party’s coverage (i.e., $15,000). Here, you would be able to seek an additional $85,000 from your insurance to cover the value of your claim that was not covered by the party who hit you. Had the party who hit you been completely uninsured, you would be able to pursue the full $100,000 of your UM/UIM policy. Keep in mind, you’re not able to seek additional compensation under your UM/UIM policy until you obtain the full policy of the at-fault party first. Depending on your insurance carrier and the offers available, UM/UIM coverage cost is generally low. Immediately following the moment the at-fault party’s insurance company tenders their full policy, your personal injury attorney will submit a demand to your insurance carrier for additional compensation under your UIM coverage. Typically (but certainly not always) when pursuing compensation for your personal injuries under your UM/UIM policy, your insurance carrier will respond quickly and reasonably to your requests, as they run the risk of a bad-faith insurance claim should they treat you unfairly.
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