Last week’s article focused on what to do following a hit and run collision. One of the points touched on in the post was about Uninsured Motorist coverage in insurance policies and how it could benefit you in the event the driver that hit you fled the scene. This week, we re-visit uninsured motorist coverage and discuss exactly what it is and how to ensure that it is included in your policy.
It seems self-explanatory, but there actually is more to it than just coverage against drivers with no insurance. For instance, UM coverage doesn’t just protect you from uninsured drivers, it also provides compensation for you when you are the victim of a hit and run as we outlined last week. Additionally, UM coverage also protects you against under-insured drivers (which include drivers who liability insurance coverage less than the state minimum or those that carry less insurance coverage than you do).
In a typical accident, assuming the negligent driver has adequate insurance, you seek compensation for damage to you and your vehicle against the other driver’s liability insurance. Liability insurance is what you have probably heard many people refer to as state minimum insurance and those minimums include: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage. But when you are hit by a person without insurance or involved in a particularly bad wreck that incurs costs above those 25-50-25 minimums, you are going to need to look to your own insurance policy to help make you whole again. Hopefully you are starting to see why it is crucial to have this coverage in your policy. With an estimated 1 in 4 drivers in the state uninsured and hospital stays costing over $1,300 per day, you don’t want to run the risk of not being compensated and having to pay medical bills because of an accident that was due to no fault of your own.
Section 83-11-101 of the Mississippi Code states that every auto insurer most offer uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage, but the statutory language is a little deceiving. Just because the statute mandates the inclusion of the option to carry UM coverage on a policy does not mean it is included in your policy automatically. You need to make sure that you have signed the form that will add UM coverage to your policy. Yes, UM coverage is an additional fee to your car insurance premiums, but this is not the place to try and skim a few dollars. Insurance is expensive, there’s no other way to say it, but you don’t want to be blinded by trying to save some money that you decide not to include this in your policy.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an uninsured motorist in Mississippi, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at ‘Maggio|Thompson.
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