Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also known as UI/UM coverage. UI/UM coverage is a type of auto insurance that covers a person’s medical costs and other incurred expenses following a collision. If the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance or high enough coverage, UI/UM could help cover costs from the accident.
It’s crucial to know the elements of UM insurance and the process for filing a claim. Understanding UI/UM insurance is important in pursuing compensation for your medical care and any additional losses you suffer from a car crash.
UI/UM Insurance Premium
Auto insurance isn’t a requirement in Virginia. Drivers can opt-out of insuring their vehicles by paying a $500 fee to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
However, if you purchase liability coverage, you must include UM coverage on your policy as well. The monthly premium you pay for UM insurance will depend on the specific carrier you go through.
State law requires minimum liability limits of:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people
- $20,000 for property damage
Your UM policy limits for bodily injury or death and property damage must be the same as your liability limits if you also choose to purchase liability insurance.
How UM Insurance Works in Virginia
Virginia is a fault state when it comes to motor vehicle collisions. That means the at-fault driver becomes financially liable for the injured victim’s losses.
Typically, if another driver causes an accident, you can seek compensation from their auto insurance company for the losses you suffered, such as medical expenses.
However, suppose they don’t have liability insurance or high enough limits listed on their policy. In that case, you’ll have to file a claim with your UM insurer if you included it in your auto insurance policy.
Two types of coverage are available under UM insurance:
- Uninsured motorist – This coverage pays for the injured person’s losses if another driver were at fault for an accident but doesn’t carry liability insurance.
- Underinsured motorist – This coverage supplements remaining losses the at-fault driver’s liability insurance can’t cover because the limits on the policy aren’t high enough.
When you file a UM claim, the settlement you could receive can compensate for the losses you suffered in the accident, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Unfortunately, the minimum limits for liability insurance often aren’t enough to compensate for a person’s total losses.
For example, if you suffered $50,000 in losses but the at-fault motorist only has $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury, you’re left with $25,000 in losses you must pay for yourself. UM coverage could pay for the remaining $25,000 in losses, so you’re not left with out-of-pocket expenses.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
Insurance companies want to avoid paying out significant settlements to save money. If you don’t seek legal representation, insurance companies could take advantage by intimidating you into accepting a low settlement offer or denying your claim unfairly.
Filing an insurance claim can be an overwhelming and confusing process to handle alone. It’s vital to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to assist you with your claim.
After hiring a lawyer, they can:
- Take on the responsibility of reviewing the available insurance policies to determine coverage amounts
- Calculate the monetary value of your losses to pursue compensation that can cover everything
- They can also file a claim and negotiate a settlement on your behalf
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact a Fairfax car accident attorney with Whitestone Young, PC today. We could help you pursue the fair compensation you deserve from an underinsured motorist insurance claim.
With over 40 years of experience fighting for accident victims in Virginia, you can feel confident knowing you’ll have a team by your side you can trust. We will aggressively pursue the money you’re owed to compensate for your losses and hold the at-fault driver liable for their misconduct.
Contact us today at (703) 591-0200 for your free consultation with a dedicated and skilled car accident lawyer with Whitestone Young, PC.