I’m fully insured.
It is amazing how many of our personal injury clients make this statement during their initial consultation with our office after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Then, after further investigation, it turns out that, in reality, “fully” means “minimally.”
Many drivers on Arizona streets have no insurance at all. In fact, current statistics demonstrate that the number of auto policy cancellations is increasing, likely due to the slow economy – people are being forced to choose which bills to pay, and oftentimes, auto insurance gets cut loose.
- Hypothetical #1: Driver A injures Driver B in an accident. Driver A has no insurance. Driver B has no Uninsured Motorist coverage. Driver B receives nothing for his/her injuries. Arizona state law requires all drivers to have an insurance policy that provides for $15,000/$30,000 of liability coverage. Many people buy only the minimum amount of insurance required by law.
- Hypothetical #2: Driver A is responsible for an accident in which Driver B is injured. Driver A has the legal minimum, $15,000, in liability coverage. The maximum that Driver B can recover for his injuries is $15,000, regardless of the extent and severity of his/her damages. So, even if Driver B’s medical bills equal $100,000, the most he/she can recover from Driver A’s insurance company is $15,000.
Seems screwed up, huh? That’s where the safety net of Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage comes into play. Here are (some of) the benefits you can receive from having sufficient Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage:
- If you are injured by a driver who has no insurance, you can still make a claim and get a recovery.
- If you are injured by a driver who has minimal insurance, or less than the full value of your claim, you can potentially receive a total settlement amount to cover your claim.
- Settlement proceeds received from the Uninsured and/or Underinsured coverage in your auto policy are free from liens (including worker’s compensation liens).
- Proper levels of coverage can provide you peace of mind, especially since you spend many hours on the road.
- Call your insurance agent and make an appointment.
- When you meet, ask about your current levels of both Uninsured Motorist AND Underinsured Motorist coverage.
- Ask about the cost of increases to higher levels of coverage. You will be surprised how small increases to your premium will get you much better coverage.
- Push your coverage as high as you can afford. We recommend that officers carry UM/UIM coverage of $100,000/$300,000 AT A MINIMUM.
- Follow these steps IMMEDIATELY – every day on the road creates risk of getting hurt with insufficient coverage.
As always, the attorneys at our firm are available to provide guidance and to answer any questions you have regarding Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist coverage. We hope you all take immediate steps to make sure that you are “fully insured” with plenty of coverage.