Unfortunately, car accidents occur every single day. In the event of a car accident, you never know if the at-fault driver will be able to cover the damage or medical expenses they’re responsible for. In Michigan, it is estimated that between 10-20% of motorists are uninsured. In some areas of the state, the rate is higher.
To make sure you’re fairly compensated, you may want to consider uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Michigan car accident lawyers take a look at what it covers, what its limits are, and explain the circumstances it’s most helpful in.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist insurance coverage is an insurance coverage an individual purchases to protect him or herself in case they are injured by an uninsured driver. Under Michigan law, unlike no-fault benefits (PIP) or residual bodily injury coverage (BI), uninsured motorist coverage is not required. This means the state does not mandate the purchase of uninsured motorist coverage.
However, the attorneys at Michigan car accident attorneys strongly encourage each motorist to carry such coverage because so many drivers operate their vehicles without insurance.
Like other types of insurance coverage, a policyholder can purchase different levels of uninsured motorist coverage. The minimum in Michigan is 20/40, which means an individual can receive up to $20,000 for their injuries while the insurance company is obligated to pay up to $40,000 for the entire crash, no matter how many people sustained injury.
Most insurance carriers offer significantly higher amounts of uninsured motorist coverage. For example, many policies are 100/300 policies, meaning an individual can receive up to $100,000 in compensation through an uninsured motorist policy.
Who Does Uninsured Motorist Cover?
Uninsured motorist coverage potentially covers multiple people. First, it covers the policyholder if he or she is involved in a motor vehicle accident. Because this type of coverage is contractual in nature, the insurance policy controls so it is important to read your insurance policy to adequately understand who is covered under your plan and when.
Under most policies, uninsured motorist coverage also covers the policyholder’s family members. Often this coverage extends to situations when the policyholder or family member is injured in a different vehicle. For example, if you were in a friend’s vehicle at the time of a serious car accident, and your friend caused the accident and his vehicle was uninsured, you can still make a claim through your own insurance carrier if you carry uninsured motorist coverage.
Furthermore, most policies also cover passengers injured in a vehicle covered by uninsured motorist coverage, even if the passenger is not listed on the policy. Again, it’s important to read the fine print and to speak to your insurance agent to determine what your policy does and does not cover.
How Do I Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage is easy. Simply contact your insurance agent and ask for it. Although it is not mandatory under Michigan law to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, it is usually very inexpensive. For example, for my own policy the cost is less than $50 over 6 months.
How Do I Make An Uninsured Motorist Claim?
Making a claim for uninsured motorist coverage is easy. Following an accident, pick up the telephone and call your insurance agent or the insurance company itself and explain what happened. It is important to be specific in telling the insurance representative you want to open an uninsured motorist claim.
However, buyer beware! Many insurance carriers have burdensome provisions that must be followed in order to obtain uninsured motorist benefits. If you don’t meet these requirements, the insurance company can wiggle its way out of paying what should be a valid claim. For example, some Michigan insurance companies require that a police report be filed within 24 hours of an accident. Other carriers require they be contacted about an uninsured motorist claim within 30 days of the accident.
One carrier in particular, Farm Bureau Insurance, is notoriously difficult about following its contractual policies when going through an uninsured motorist claim. If for some reason a policyholder did not follow a rule, however mundane, that violation can result in the denial of a claim.
So again, read the fine print and call a Michigan car accident lawyer if your or a loved one has been involved in a car or truck accident.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. represents Michigan car accident victims. With multiple offices in the state, we come to you and represent serious injury victims throughout Michigan. Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) with any questions and our team of Michigan car accident attorneys is ready to fight for you.