Plain and simple: call your insurance agent today, right now and get as much uninsured/underinsured [it’s the same thing] coverage as you can get!
Why?: Have you seen some of the cars on the road and the people driving them?; etcetera. Your uninsured motorist carrier steps into the shoes of the uninsured person who caused the collision, and becomes his/her coverage for the purposes of the claim. If the claim exceeds the coverage of the person who caused the wreck then your excess coverage will step in up to its limits. A common concern that I hear from clients when discussing their pursuit of an uninsured motorist claim is “I don’t want to make a claim against my insurance company because they will raise my premiums!” I have had more than one client tell me that is what their agent told them. This assertion/belief is absolutely 100% false. A “UM” Claim will only cause your premium to increase when you are found at fault. If the uninsured/underinsured party is found to be “at fault”, the Insurance Commissioner regulations prohibit a rate increase of the victim’s insurance rates: And that is the way it should be.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage is that coverage which “kicks in” after the negligent party’s insurance carrier has tendered it’s policy limits which are inadequate to compensate the insured for his/her injuries. The UM Limits though must exceed those of the defendants policy limits in order for coverage to apply. Here is an example of how this works:
Hershel is insured with Mann and has UM limits of $250,000.00. He is rear ended in a terrible accident with Lindsey who is insured with Allstate. Lindsey’s liability limits are only $25,000.00. Hershel’s medical bills alone are $35,000.00. He also has thousands of dollars in lost earnings. In this case it is likely that Allstate will offer to pay Lindsey’s policy limits of $25,000.00 to settle the case on Lindsey’s behalf. If Hershel accepts that offer without waiving his right to proceed against Lindsey for the true value of his case he can then make a claim for Underinsured Motorist Benefits with Mann for up to $225,000.00 ($250,000.00 minus $15,000.00 received from Allstate). The “rub”/problem here is that Allstate will do all it can to force a settlement agreement that restricts Hershel’s right to pursue the claim further and Hershel’s insurer can technically withhold any payment until Hershel gets a judgment in his case with Lindsey – this is not the case in the majority of jurisdictions in the US, where Hershel would not have to go through getting a judgment in order to get his insurer to deal with him in good faith. Georgia legislators, however, appear to care less about its citizens and there are statutes that actually help Insurers turn the screws on their own insureds by limiting damages to virtually nothing if they deal in bad faith with the insured and by requiring that an insured get a judgment before an insurer has to pay its insured a dime regardless of whether the insurer is dealing with its insured in bad faith! So get a personal injury attorney involved in the claim from the outset in a serious injury case!
So, again, get your coverage increased today! And get an attorney involved in a serious injury collision case as soon as possible.
Call Prater & Associates today!| to discuss your case: 770-253-7778 | before evidence disappears and memory fades from the minds of important witnesses.