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WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE AND DO I NEED IT?

WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE AND DO I NEED IT?If your initial reaction to this title is “what is that”, then you must immediately contact your auto insurance company to discuss your coverage.

This is the type of automobile insurance coverage you have to protect yourself and maybe even your passengers in case someone who causes you injuries is either uninsured (no valid insurance coverage in effect on that date) or underinsured (not enough insurance coverage to take care of the injuries sustained).

A related type of coverage relates to the deductible for a property damage claim, sometimes referred to as “UM/UIM Property Damage Deductible Waiver”.  Discovering that you do not have this coverage will probably get the biggest rise out of you.  Imagine you have just been injured in an collision that was not your fault, and that the driver of the other vehicle does not have insurance, or enough insurance, to cover your injuries.  Not only that, but now your car is damaged and your insurance company is requiring you to pay a deductible in order to get it repaired.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  However, having this feature or coverage on your policy will give you a pass from this headache, and allow you to get your car fixed under your policy without having to pay your deductible.

Sometimes, people will waive this coverage or request a lower limit because they are trying to get the lowest insurance payment possible.  However, this is insurance coverage to protect yourself!  It’s the only way to ensure (and insure) that you and your passengers will be taken care of should someone harm you more than they are covered for.

Unfortunately, this is a difficult message to get out, and it is all too often that we discover an uninsured or underinsured defendant has injured a client without proper uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  It doesn’t matter how clearly at-fault the defendant is; if there is no insurance coverage, or not enough insurance coverage, then the injured party often gets the short end of the stick.

Please consult with your insurance company or agent about your policy to get recommendations for your coverage and limits, and to review your policy and declarations page(s) carefully.  Hopefully, that will save you some grief in the future.

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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