Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) and Why You Need It
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
The rate of uninsured drivers decreased by 10.1% from 2015 to 2019 in Michigan. However, 25.5% of Michigan drivers still lacked auto insurance in 2019. This puts all Michigan drivers at risk of significant financial loss when an uninsured driver causes an accident they don’t have insurance to cover.
Understanding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) and why you need it can protect your finances if you sustain severe injuries in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance.
An auto accident lawyer from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you determine your UM/UIM coverage after an accident caused by an uninsured driver and how to file a claim for UM/UIM benefits.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM), and Why Do You Need It?
UM and UIM are types of auto coverage that pay for your damages if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Michigan doesn’t require UM and UIM coverage, but you can incur serious financial liability if you drive without it.
For example, in 2019, Detroit had an estimated 60% of underinsured drivers, more than four times the national average. If one of these drivers causes your accident, you may have to pay out-of-pocket medical bills in excess of your required personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
If you obtain UM/UIM coverage, it will pay for accident-related damages for you and your covered family members.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist insurance(UM) covers your no-fault benefits when the other driver lacks car insurance. It includes uninsured motorist bodily injury to cover medical bills and other injury-related losses.
To find out if a driver has no insurance, the police will ask every driver involved in the accident about their insurance coverage when they arrive at the scene. They will likely inform you if the other driver doesn’t have coverage and will note this in their report. When you discuss the incident with your attorney, this information will help them know to file a claim with your UM insurance policy instead of the other driver.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Your underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) covers you when the other driver’s insurance is inadequate to cover all your expenses. It covers the gap between what the driver’s insurance policy provides and the amount of damages you incur from the accident.
For example, Michigan drivers can purchase up to $250,000 in bodily injury and property damage limits per person and $500,000 per accident for multiple injured parties or fatalities. Drivers can also purchase a lower limit of $50,000 for an injured person or wrongful death and $100,000 for multiple injuries or deaths.
If you’re involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, their policy will cover your damages up to their limits. Your UIM coverage includes underinsured motorist bodily injury to pay for the medical expenses that exceed the driver’s minimum liability limits.
Do UM/UIM Motorist Claims Cover Property Damage?
Some states require uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) along with UM/UIM coverage. However, Michigan’s UM/UIM coverage doesn’t include uninsured motorist property damage coverage. You may need to refer to your collision coverage in your car insurance policy to help you pay for damage to your car.
How Do Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Claims in Michigan Work?
If you wish to file a successful UM claim with your car insurance company, you must prove these elements:
- The other driver’s fault in the accident is 50% or more under the state’s modified comparative negligence law.
- The responsible driver didn’t have auto insurance.
To be eligible for UIM coverage from your insurer, your fault in the accident must not be 50% or greater than the other driver. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy must be insufficient to cover your damages in a car settlement, and their policy has to pay your excess medical bills and damages.
If you can establish the necessary elements, your insurance company will compensate you for damages the at-fault driver’s insurance policy would have covered.
What if I Was Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
Hit-and-run accidents occur when drivers leave the accident scene without stopping to provide aid, exchanging contact information, or reporting to the police. If you experienced pain and suffering due to your injuries from a hit-and-run accident, you may recover compensation through your UM coverage.
Hit-and-run drivers are considered uninsured motorists, allowing you to file your UM claim under your liability insurance policy.
Your auto insurer may require you to prove that your vehicle made contact with the hit-and-run vehicle for you to file your UM claim. In hit-and-run accidents, it’s important to understand the importance of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) and why you need it.
A car accident attorney can work with you to gather evidence to support your claim, such as witness statements, police reports, and surveillance footage showing the accident. They can also negotiate with your insurance company to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
How to File Your UM/UIM Claim with Your Lawyer
Since UM/UIM coverage isn’t mandatory in Michigan, your auto insurance company may have unique requirements for the deadline to file your claim. For example, the insurer might need additional evidence to strengthen your UM or UIM claim.
Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are experienced in handling UM and UIM claims. We can help you better understand uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) and why you need it:
1. Evaluate Your Auto Insurance Policy
Most insurance companies require notification of a car accident within a specific period. If you give your notice within your company’s timeline, your insurance can allow coverage for a UM claim.
Review your auto insurance policy for UM/UIM coverage with an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. Your lawyer can help you comply with the notice requirements and read your policy carefully to determine if your family members have coverage.
2. Include Evidence for Your Claim
In case of a hit-and-run accident, an experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to establish the existence of the accident and make a strong claim for UM coverage. These include:
- Police report: A copy of the police report will contain information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and description.
- Witness statements: Your attorney can interview them and ask them to provide a statement about what they saw. Witness statements can establish the existence of the accident, especially if multiple witnesses provide consistent accounts of what happened.
- Surveillance footage: Your lawyer can obtain available footage from nearby surveillance or traffic cameras and photos or videos taken by witnesses. These images can help establish the location of the accident and the extent of the damage to your vehicle.
3. Review Your Settlement
Your insurer may only accept your UIM claim once you recover the at-fault driver’s liability coverage limits through a car accident settlement. An attorney can assist in reviewing the settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They will ensure that it is fair and covers all your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You can then file a UIM claim with your insurance company to seek compensation up to the limits of your UIM coverage.
Get the Legal Help You Need for Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, the lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can assist you in pursuing your claim with the insurance company. Talk to an attorney today about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) and why you need it.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.