After an accident, can I use my uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?

Car Insurance After an Accident

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is something every driver in DC, Virginia or Maryland should have - here's why:

It is the insurance coverage you can use after a serious accident when the other driver doesn't have any liability or car insurance or doesn't have enough to pay for all of the harms he caused as a resultof the accident - your medical bills, hospitalization, physical therapy, rehab, medications - everything you now need to recover from the accident (for as long as you need it) plus the lost income if you can't work, and all of the other damages for personal injury cases allowed under the law, like pain, suffering, permanent injury, future medical care, future lost income and others.

Your UM/UIM coverage will step in and pay up to the limits of your policy.  Here's how it works:

Let's say a driver is on his phone and crashes into you on 495 because he wasn't paying attention and crossed the line into your lane of traffic. Your car was totaled and you suffered serious injuries - a torn rotator cuff, a broken leg, a concussion.  You spent 3 days in the hospital after surgery on the fractured femur and you need another surgery on the rotator cuff.  You're facing a long recovery of medical specialists, physical therapy, and rehab.

And you're paid by the hour in a physical job your doctors have said you can't do for at least 6 months - and if you don't work, you don't get paid.

The driver's insurance company calls and says they are responsible for the accident he caused (great).  But they only have $25,000 in coverage, so that is the most the insurance company will ever pay. Your hospital and surgery bills are already more than $25,000!

Is it fair? No.  Is it legal? Yes.

If you have UM/UIM, that coverage will make up the difference, up to your policy limit.  Let's say you had a $300,000 UM/UIM policy - then after the other driver's insurance offered their policy limit of $25,000, your insurance would pay up to another $275,000 for a total of $300,000.

If you didn't have UM/UIM coverage on your policy, you'd be stuck with the $25,000 or trying to collect from the driver personally (and people with minimum insurance policies usually don't have much money...)

Will your insurance company just pay you the UM/UIM coverage? No - they are not in the business of just giving away money. Can you settle a UM/UIM case?  Absolutely - and here's one we worked on recently.

Check you Declaration Page on your own insurance policy (and if you can't find it, you can get this online from most insurance companies.  We're happy to review it with you, just fax it to (202) 393 - 3324 or email it to [email protected] with the subject UM/UIM and we'll set up a time to talk about it at no charge.