Drivers are expected to obtain auto insurance before they get behind the wheel of any vehicle. Auto insurance serves as a protection for them and others. After a car accident, motorists involved in the incident may require medical treatment and their property may be significantly damaged, and auto insurance helps cover these costs. However, not everyone follows the law and obtains car insurance.
How many people are driving throughout the country without any insurance? One estimate suggests that one in eight drivers carries no insurance at all. A driver who carries no insurance is called an uninsured motorist (UM). If caught, a driver without insurance could face substantial fines and the possibility of a revoked driver’s license. If the driver gets into an accident, the problem can become much worse, especially if someone else is injured.
Similarly, some people are willing to carry insurance, but the insurance does not meet state minimums, this is called an underinsured motorist (UIM). Though underinsured motorists technically have insurance, the insurance coverage rarely pays enough if they are found responsible for a crash that causes injuries or property damage.
All auto insurance policies in Illinois include UM/UIM insurance coverage. UM/UIM insurance applies when a driver has no or too little insurance to cover costs of a car accident, such as expensive injuries and property damage.
Does UM/UIM Insurance Cost Extra?
Insured drivers who have UM/UIM coverage can expect to pay a bit more in their monthly or annual premiums. Nevertheless, anyone who has ever been in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can attest that being able to fall back on UM/UIM insurance takes away some of the stress of the experience.
Consequently, new drivers getting insurance or drivers who are considering switching to a different auto insurance provider should always inquire about adding UM/UIM insurance to their coverage. This is done automatically in Illinois, but adding UM/UIM insurance is not automatic in other states.
Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Hit-and-run accidents occur when a driver hits another driver’s vehicle, but the at-fault driver leaves the scene and cannot be found. In this situation, the driver who has been hurt would not be able to collect damages from the other motorist. However, if the driver who was a victim of a hit-and-run accident had UM/UIM insurance, the coverage would take care of everything, including medical bills and car repairs.
How Does UM/UIM Coverage Differ from Liability Coverage?
Many motorists are surprised to learn that after a collision, their liability coverage is meant for the needs of the other driver. In other words, having liability coverage is critical but only because it pays for the other motorist’s damages in the event of a crash.
Liability coverage is not the same thing as UM/UIM coverage, and they should be treated completely differently.
What are Auto Liability Insurance Requirements in Illinois?
In Illinois, all drivers need to carry at least $20,000 to cover personal injuries up to $40,000 per incident. They also need to be insured for at least $15,000 to cover any property damage that arises from an accident that was their fault.
These limits are in line with other states’ requirements. They are also quite low and easy to meet. Still, some drivers balk at maintaining the necessary liability coverage and will instead opt to risk driving underinsured or without any insurance coverage at all.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Denies a Claim?
Getting injured in an accident is always a scary and stressful experience. It is especially terrifying to find out that the other driver does not have insurance. What happens if a driver’s own UM/UIM coverage refuses to compensate the driver for personal injuries or property damage costs?
The first option is to make an appeal to the insurance company. Mistakes happen sometimes, including accounting and administrative errors. If the UM/UIM insurance claim was denied based on the wrong information, it could be reversed.
The second option is to talk to an attorney, particularly if the insurance adjusters and representatives refuse to reconsider the claim. Talking to someone at a personal injury law firm can be especially important if the victim’s injuries were severe and required quite a bit of treatment. A few nights in the hospital can cost an accident victim thousands of dollars in medical bills. Without UM/UIM insurance compensation, the victim and their family could be left owing medical providers and face financial difficulties while trying to recover.
A lawyer who routinely deals with accidents will have the ability and confidence to negotiate with the insurance provider on the behalf of the injured driver with UM/UIM coverage. While having legal representation does not guarantee success in terms of reversing a claim denial, it can go a long way toward getting fairly compensated. Also, being represented by an attorney takes the stress of dealing with corporate legal teams.
Edwardsville Car Wreck Lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC Help Injured Drivers Recover Damages After Major Car Crashes
Were you seriously hurt in a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist? If so, contact one of our Edwardsville car wreck lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC to discuss your case. Call us at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.