What you Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What happens if you are injured in an auto accident, it’s not your fault, and you incur a large amount of medical bills? Additionally, what happens if you incur lost wages because you are unable to work following your auto accident? What about your pain and suffering? How are you going to be made whole—you know, put back the way you were before the auto accident?
Georgia law requires every driver using the roads in Georgia to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance will pay if a person causes an auto accident and the other party is injured. This law protects all of us in case we are injured in an auto accident and it is not our fault. The problem is that the law only requires that a person carry $25k of insurance. With the high cost of medical care, we all know that $25k is not very much protection; one trip to the emergency room and one overnight stay in the hospital and the medical bills can easily surpass this amount.
So, what happens if your bills and lost wages are more than $25k and the person who injured you only has $25k of liability insurance? Well, you can always file a lawsuit against the person—but that process takes about twelve months to actually get in court AND even if the jury’s verdict is in your favor and you are awarded a large sum of money, you then have to collect it—if the guilty party doesn’t have any assets to speak of, you will never collect on the judgment. We call that a hollow judgment—it sounds good and I guess you can frame the legal paperwork and hang it on your wall but you’ll never actually see the money awarded.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Uninsured Motorist coverage is a very inexpensive, elective type of insurance that you can add to your auto coverage. Uninsured motorist or UM coverage will protect you if the person who injured you is uninsured—they have no liability insurance, or if they are underinsured—that is they have liability insurance but not enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We all know that—although it is unlawful—distracted driving is now a way of life. Most of us have been guilty at one time or another of peering at our phone while driving our car—which is the definition of distracted driving. The chances of being in an accident are quite high for all of us—and we need to make sure we are protected.
To prove to you that I really believe in UM insurance—and also to show you how inexpensive it is—this is my auto insurance policy that covers my wife and me—we have two vehicles. You can see that I pay $127.20 per year for each of our vehicles for us to have $500,000 of UM coverage. If we are injured in an auto accident and it is someone else’s fault, we have this much insurance protection—even if the at-fault party has $0 insurance. But, for me, this is not enough coverage; I’ve had clients with injuries where $500,000 would not cover their medical bills and lost wages—much less their pain and suffering. So, I added an additional $1,000,000 of UM coverage for $259 per year. For a total of $513.40/yr, $1.41/day, we each have $1,500,000 of insurance protection in case we are injured by another driver.
I can’t tell you how many injury cases we have had where our client has significant injuries, the at-fault party has the minimum $25k liability coverage—or no insurance at all –and no personal assets to go after and our client has no UM insurance protection. Most people don’t even know what UM coverage is. If they had the coverage we could have collected it and made them whole, but without it they are often left with . And it’s too late to get it after the accident has occurred.
I’m not trying to sell you insurance. But I urge you to review your insurance policy today or call your insurance agent and make sure you have UM coverage. If you would like more information, please call 770-415-5555 and ask for me, Mike Weaver; I will be happy to review your policy with you.
If you have any questions about any type of injury case, auto accident, big truck accident, wrongful death, worker’s compensation, slip and fall, motorcycle accident, or dog bite case, call me and I will be happy to give you a free consultation!