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Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist? Protect Yourself!

OTHER PEOPLE GET IN ACCIDENTS. RIGHT?

Do you expect to be in a carmotorcycle, or trucking accident? Probably not, because that happens to other people, right? There’s a concept in psychology called optimistic bias, which is the tendency of individuals to irrationally underestimate the likelihood they will experience adverse events, such as serious illnesses or car accidents. In general, people overestimate the degree of control they have over events. But, stuff happens…which is why you need to protect yourself against an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

YOU CAN’T CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE’S DRIVING OR HOW MUCH INSURANCE THEY HAVE.

So, if you can’t control what happens, it makes sense to be prepared in case something does happen. In other words, do you have enough car insurance? I don’t mean, do you have the minimum amount of liability insurance required by the state of Colorado in case you hit someone, but do you have enough insurance in the event someone hits you?

You know those TV commercials where the accident victim says, “John Doe lawyer got me a million dollars”? Well, a recovery that large is typically not the case in automobile accidents because most people don’t have a big liability insurance policy. Most people have liability coverage of $100,000 or less, and many people have the minimum liability coverage of $25,000. Unless you were “lucky” enough to be hit by a commercial vehicle, or by a person with a large “umbrella” policy, then you probably will not have the ability to recover a million dollars or more on your injury claim against the at-fault driver. So what can you do to protect yourself from other drivers who have no insurance or too little insurance?

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE ON YOUR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

Most people buy car insurance and assume that their agent will tell them what they need. While that is typically true in regard to the agent making sure you have enough liability coverage to protect your own assets if an injured person makes a claim against you, many agents do not effectively advise you to purchase enough Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance to protect your assets in case the at-fault driver is either uninsured or does not have enough insurance to pay all of your damages.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE WITH NO UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE:

Let’s assume you have $100,000 in auto liability coverage, but you failed to purchase Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage. You are injured by a driver with liability insurance with policy limits of $50,000. Let’s also assume that your damages equal or exceed $100,000. The other driver is “underinsured” because your damages exceed his insurance coverage, but you don’t have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage to cover his deficit of liability insurance. You can settle with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for $50,000, but you still have $50,000 of unrecovered damages. Unless the other driver has considerable income and assets for which you and your attorney can attempt to seize, you are out of luck on collecting the additional $50,000.

SAME EXAMPLE WITH UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE:

Let’s assume you have $100,000 in liability coverage and $100,000 in UM coverage. You are injured by a driver with liability insurance with policy limits of $50,000. Let’s also assume that your damages equal or exceed $100,000. The other driver is “underinsured” because your damages exceed his insurance coverage. You can settle with the at-fault driver for $50,000 and then potentially recover $50,000 from your own insurance company under your underinsured motorist (UM) coverage (“potentially” because you still have to prove to your own insurance company that your damages are $100,000 or more).

BUY UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage is relatively cheap and is extremely valuable. It may be the best deal in automobile insurance. With rising health care costs and more distracted drivers on the roads these days, you should definitely buy it.

WE CAN HELP

We all like to be optimistic, but things happen. Don’t wait until after you’ve been injured in an automobile accident to check on your insurance coverage. Check on it right now before it’s too late. The attorneys at Mac Hester Law have have over 30 years of experience dealing with automobile accident and insurance claims and protecting accident victims’ rights. Mac and his team will be happy to perform an insurance checkup for you. Contact Mac Hester Law for a free consultation today.