Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

A bodily injury liability policy and property damage liability policy are designed to cover the physical injuries and property damages, respectively, of an innocent victim in a car accident. This is the case in tort states (or states that require drivers to carry a tort-liability policy). A problem can arise, however, if the driver at fault is uninsured or underinsured.

All U.S. states require drivers to prove financial capability in compensating who they may injure or whose property they may damage in automobile accidents where they are at fault. This capability to pay may be shown by carrying auto liability insurance or a state-approved bond (in states that require auto liability insurance, not carrying one can result to a jail sentence and/or a fine plus a need to fill out an SR-22 form).

This requirement, of carrying of auto liability insurance, was mandated to make sure that at fault drivers will never default in compensating who they hurt in accidents. In tort states, victims can claim compensation from an at-fault driver’s insurance provider.

Records from the Insurance Research Council, however, say that 1 in every 8 drivers continue to freely drive on U.S. roads and highways without insurance. Thus, in order to ensure financial protection to drivers who comply with the law, D.C., along with 20 other states, requires its drivers to carry Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist coverage in addition to their auto liability insurance. This list of 20 states includes: Wisconsin; West Virginia; Virginia; Vermont; South Dakota; South Carolina; Oregon; North Dakota; North Carolina; New York; New Jersey; New Hampshire; Nebraska; Missouri; Minnesota; Massachusetts; Maryland; Maine; Kansas; and, Illinois.

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to cover all economic losses and damages suffered by victims of accidents wherein the at-fault driver does not carry auto liability insurance. This coverage will, likewise, provide a perfect financial safety net if the accident were a hit & run or if it involved a stolen vehicle.

An Underinsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, is designed to supplement any inadequacy in the policy limit of the driver at-fault (this is usually the case when the driver at-fault carries only his/her state’s required minimum liability coverage, rendering his/her policy’s amount not enough to cover the damages suffered by the victim).

Philadelphia car accident attorneys explain that, although auto accidents can have many unintentional or unavoidable agents, a substantial portion are caused by the intentional, reckless, or negligent actions of another. Insurance companies often play on their clients’ desire to quickly resolve the ordeal by offering low settlements in order to avoid paying the full amount a claim is worth. In these cases, the defense of a proficient car accident lawyer may be necessary.


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