INSURANCE SELF-DEFENSE – Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Everyone’s heard of defensive driving—being on the lookout for dangerous situations so drivers can avoid them before a wreck happens. What happens, however, when a wreck occurs in spite of best efforts at defensive driving?

If another driver negligently caused the wreck, the injured person can make a claim against that driver’s insurance company. What if the other driver has no insurance or too little insurance to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering that result from serious injuries?
In those situations, the negligent driver probably does not have enough money or assets to compensate a seriously injured person. Injured persons who have practiced insurance self-defense can turn to their own insurance companies’ uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for compensation.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection in situations when a person with no insurance coverage negligently causes injury in a motor vehicle wreck. Uninsured coverage is typically included in all automobile liability policies in North Carolina. Even if a person has only the minimum required liability coverage of $30,000, that person will have $30,000 of uninsured motorist coverage that provides some protection if a covered person is injured by an uninsured driver. An uninsured driver includes a hit-and-run driver who hits another car, flees the scene, and is never identified.

Underinsured motorist coverage protects an injured person when a negligent driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay full compensation for the harms
and losses caused by the driver’s negligence. This coverage can come into play when a person is so seriously injured in a wreck that the negligent driver’s liability insurance coverage is insufficient to compensate for the injuries. Underinsured motorist coverage can also come into play when multiple people are injured by a driver’s negligence and the available liability insurance coverage is not enough to compensate all of the injured people. In these situations, underinsured motorist coverage under the insurance policy on the vehicle in which the injured person or persons were riding can provide another source of compensation. Additionally, if an injured person has underinsured coverage under a policy on a different vehicle, that coverage can provide additional compensation if the injuries are severe enough.

Vehicle owners who have more than minimum liability limits can purchase up to $1,000,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This insurance self-defense technique can save injured people from the additional harm that occurs when a person is injured and there isn’t enough insurance coverage to provide full compensation for all of the injuries. It’s bad enough to be injured by another driver’s negligence; it’s even worse if that driver has no liability insurance or not enough coverage to compensate for all of the injuries.

Drivers should protect themselves and their families by purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with limits as high as possible. Don’t be that person who is told by a lawyer, “You could have received a much larger recovery for your serious injuries, but there wasn’t enough insurance coverage. If only you had uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage . . . .”

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