Louisiana requires that all drivers carry a minimum amount of liability coverage ($15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident bodily injury and $25,000 per accident property damage) to pay for damages they cause to others in the event of an accident. Yet, how do you protect yourself when another driver fails to obtain liability coverage, or not enough? Uninsured motorist coverage, or underinsured motorist coverage is the answer!
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
This coverage is related to injuries caused by an uninsured, negligent driver. The individual who caused the accident typically does not have insurance, had insurance that does not meet the state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. In addition, a hit-and-run driver is also considered an uninsured motorist.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
When an individual is underinsured, it means that they do not have enough insurance to cover the other driver’s damages and medical expenses; their coverage limits are too low. These underinsured drivers typically purchase only the minimum coverage required by law, which is why it is recommended you evaluate your policy and consider purchasing higher limits than what the state mandates. If a driver with low coverage limits causes substantial injuries to another party, it is possible that the available insurance benefit won’t pay all medical expenses for the injured driver.
Why is this coverage important?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is extremely important because if you are involved in an accident where the “at fault” driver lacks adequate insurance, or insurance at all, you could be responsible for a significant amount of medical bills and expenses. The coverage is optional in Louisiana, but even though it is optional, Louisiana has a strong public policy to recognize the most amount of coverage for innocent victims injured. Louisiana’s insurance code is written in a manner that presumes UM coverage in every policy unless the insured specifically rejects/selects otherwise.
How do I reject or accept this coverage on my policy?
In Louisiana the two coverages are bundled together. In other some states, they can be purchased separately when creating your auto policy. In Louisiana, you are given the option to reject UM coverage. If not rejected, then it is presumed to match liability limits on your policy. If an insured wishes to reject, or select lower limits, than the selection must be made on a form by the Louisiana Commission of Insurance, which your insurer and agent will provide for you.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is a sure way for you to protect yourself on the road. Many drivers in Louisiana are not carrying the correct amounts of liability insurance, and they are posing a risk to other drivers daily.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
While Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury pays you or anyone riding with you for injuries as described above, Uninsured Motorist Property Damage pays you for damages to your vehicle caused by an at fault uninsured motorist. You can buy this coverage if you don’t carry collision coverage on your vehicle.
If you have questions about your current auto policy or wish to look into UM coverage, contact your local agent at Darryl Murphy Insurance today!