Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims

In all automobile policies there is a provision for coverage to protect oneself from all drivers with minimum policy coverage of $25,000. This coverage does not automatically match your liability coverage. The liability coverage protects an automobile policyholder from people you may injure in an accident. The Underinsured and Uninsured coverage limit is in every policy but the coverage is the minimum allowed by law which is $25,000. The automobile policy coverage can and should be increased to match your liability coverage. Thus, if you have $100,000 liability coverage, for a few dollars more you can increase you underinsurance/ uninsured coverage to $100,000 to match your liability coverage. Once you do this, you protect yourself from all vehicles with minimum coverage of $25,000.

This is how it works. You are injured from another automobile (auto accident or pedestrian knockdown) which has a minimum policy for liability of $25,000 or no insurance. You sustain injuries that have a value greater than the policy of the car that hit you. If you have underinsurance/uninsured coverage, you can make a claim up to the limit selected by you. Thus, if you matched your liability of $100,000, you can put in a claim for the value of your injury for an additional $75,000 ($25,000 + $75,000) against your own underinsurance/uninsured provision. The procedure is as soon as you know the automobile that hit you has a limit of $25,000 policy and/or no insurance; you put your insurance company on notice of a potential claim. Once the $25,000 policy of the car that hit you is offered, you must get permission from your carrier to accept the policy. Once you have permission to accept the underlying tortfeasor’s policy, the remaining claim (up to $75,000) is made. Your insurance company then has a right to conduct an Examination under Oath (a deposition) and an independent medical examination. Once this is completed, an arbitration proceeding is filed. (You are no longer in Court as the underlying case has been settled for the full liability policy of $25,000). The arbitration proceeding is through the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and a retired Judge or attorney acts as the arbitrator assigned by AAA and the arbitrator values your injuries up to your underinsurance/uninsured coverage (another $75,000).

Most insurance companies do not like writing this coverage for more than $25,000. You as the policyholder and consumer must ask to increase this coverage up to your liability coverage. Thus, you are protecting people you injure as well as yourself up to the limit of your coverage.

Presently, there is a bill in the Legislature that would require your automobile insurance company to automatically add to your coverage by writing the policy limit of underinsurance/ uninsured up to your liability limit without requesting it. If you protect people you injure up to $500,000, the policy (at an extra cost which is reasonable) will automatically cover your injuries up to underinsurance/uninsured coverage of $500,000.

If you have been injured by an automobile, truck or motorcycle with no insurance or minimum insurance ($25,000) coverage, see the Law Firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates who have extensive experience in prosecuting underinsurance/uninsured provision of your automobile policy.

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