When you sit down with your auto insurance quote, the cost of the premiums may send you looking for ways to trim the fat. Uninsured motorist coverage may seem like a good place to start. But once you know what it is, and why you might want it, you will likely look elsewhere to find savings.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is an optional auto insurance policy available to Michigan motorists in addition to their No-Fault coverage. Generally speaking, an uninsured motorist policy allows your auto insurance company to stand in the place of drivers who either can’t be identified (such as in a hit-and-run accident), or has no insurance of their own.
Unlike no-fault auto insurance, UM coverage is limited by the terms of its policy. You can choose a level of coverage you believe will be enough to see you through in the case of an accident with an uninsured driver. However, when you purchase this policy, you may also need to increase your liability insurance to the same level of coverage. You may also be required to purchase under-insured motorist coverage (more on that in the next blog post).
UM Insurance and Hit-and-Run Accidents
Sometimes you literally don’t know what hit you. A serious hit-and-run accident can leave you with severe, life changing injuries and no one to collect from. When that happens, you can receive UM benefits based on the damages you would have received from the hit-and-run driver, up to the maximum coverage allowed by your policy. Without UM coverage, those damages often go unpaid because you may never find out who hit you.
Uninsured Drivers Are a Reality
Even though the law says every driver is required to maintain liability insurance, many Michigan motorists simply don’t renew their coverage. They may obtain a short-term insurance policy when they purchase a vehicle or renew their registration, but then they will allow it to lapse for the rest of the year.
For most uninsured drivers, this decision is a matter of cost. They cannot afford the insurance payments on a vehicle. In addition, an uninsured motorist is not entitled to no-fault benefits. If both motorists are injured in the crash, they will be paying for their own treatment out of pocket. That will make collecting Third-Party negligence damages difficult. While a jury can (and often does) award damages to injured motorists from uninsured drivers, actually receiving payment on that unpaid judgment can be difficult, time consuming, and sometimes simply impossible.
In these cases, you can use your uninsured motorist coverage as a safety net. You can file a claim for benefits under your UM policy when it appears the driver does not have insurance. If those benefits are denied for any reason, you can add the insurance provider to the case and ensure you have at least some compensation for your damages.
Why Should You Get UIM Insurance on Top of Your Mandatory No-Fault Coverage?
Unlike your no-fault policy, your recovery of Third-Party liability benefits depends on what the other driver chose to buy for insurance. If the person who hit you didn’t maintain their insurance, you could be left without the ability to collect on your damages. You may be the type to cover your bases in case something happens, but you never know who will hit you. You could be lucky enough to be struck by a millionaire or someone just barely making rent. Do you want to take that chance?
At Macomb Law Group, our personal injury attorneys know how to make the most of your no-fault insurance benefits and any optional uninsured motorist coverage you have paid for. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, contact Macomb Law Group and get our team working for you.