Hello. This is Robert Mansour. Today I wanted to make a brief video about uninsured motorist claims. If you get into an automobile accident and the other party either doesn't have insurance or the other party doesn't have enough insurance, you may have something under your own policy called uninsured motorist, or sometimes it's called under-insured motorist, and you'll see it. It's called UM on your policy. Or, you could just call your company and say, "Hey, do I have uninsured motorist?"
Now, as you can imagine that's very handy if the other party doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough, but here's the deal: For uninsured motorists who apply, it's not just enough for you to have it, it actually has to apply. So what are some things that maybe would prevent uninsured motorists from applying? Well, you have to be able to prove that the other party was uninsured.
Let's say somebody did a hit-and-run with your car. They hit your vehicle and then they took off. You have no idea who they are, what the vehicle is all about, what the VIN number is, the license plate, you don't know the name of the person who hit you, you have no idea, the police can't track them down. Well, you may not be able to use your uninsured motorist. You might think that you can, but your policy might say that if your insurance company can't rule it out and can't determine for sure whether that party has insurance or not, then uninsured motorist doesn't apply, so to some extent, you've got to know who hit you.
Now, contrast that with somebody who hit you and the police got all the information and you have that person's information and when you check on it you find that they don't have any insurance. That's different from a hit and run where you cannot conclusively even prove who that person is.
Another thing that might prevent you from being able to use your uninsured motorist benefits is if the vehicle that caused the accident never touches your vehicle, never came into contact with your vehicle. Let's say you're driving along and somebody turns left in front of you, but you don't hit them. You turn to try to avoid them and you hit a pole or something. Then you say, "Well uninsured motorist. That person caused the accident and they didn't have insurance." Well, your insurance company might say, "Hold on a second. Because there was no contact between your car and the uninsured vehicle, we don't cover that."
Make sure that you understand not only that you have uninsured motorist, but realize that there might be some hoops that you need to jump through before that uninsured motorist benefit actually applies to your case. I hope you found this video to be helpful. My name is Robert Mansour and thanks for watching.
The Importance of Uninsured Motorist
In my opinion, the most important aspect of any auto insurance policy is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (better to exceed $15K - get as much as you can). The number of people driving without insurance is staggering. I've seen too many cases involving clients that have been seriously hurt, but the responsible party has NO insurance, and my clients have nowhere else to turn! Uninsured motorist coverage usually covers "underinsured" motorist claims as well - situations when the other party did not have enough insurance to cover your losses.
Check your automobile coverage to see if you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Sometimes, it shows up as "UM Coverage" on your declarations page (the page your insurance company sends you which outlines the car insurance you have). It is important to get as much as you can afford. Check with your insurance professional and discuss your options. Sometimes, insurance companies fail to tell you about available UM coverage.
Also, if you make a claim pursuant to your UM coverage, your insurance company should treat you fairly and in very good faith since you are their direct client. That doesn't mean they have to buy every claim you present, and they may be skeptical at times. Remember, you are making a claim that needs to be proven as if you were bringing a claim against another insurance carrier.
I’ve recently been handling two personal injury cases that involved fairly serious injuries. The problem is that in both cases, the party responsible for the injury did not have enough insurance. In fact, in both cases, the responsible party had $25,000 in car insurance. Needless to say, my clients were not very happy about this fact but in both cases, they luckily had “uninsured” motorist (UM) coverage. In most cases, that also means “underinsured” motorist (when the other party doesn't have ENOUGH insurance). In fact, they had $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. That means if the other party doesn’t have “enough” you can turn to your own insurance company for additional coverage.
However, that probably still isn't enough to compensate them for their injuries. My clients were upset about this. However, the amount of UM coverage one has is completely within your control. Therefore, while you can’t control the amount of insurance the other party has, you can control the outcome to some extent by carrying a large UM policy. There are so many people driving out there without insurance or in some cases, not enough insurance, to it behooves you to explore adequate UM coverage. Ask your insurance company or broker about it. It’s probably the single most important piece of auto insurance coverage you can get.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.