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You need to buy uninsured motorist coverage – NOW

August 31, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan car accident attorney explains UM/UIM and how it can protect you in case of a serious car crash with a driver who does not have insurance

About 50 percent of Detroit drivers are driving without any auto insurance, according to the Detroit Legal News. And about 19 percent of all Michigan drivers have no auto insurance, according to a news release by the Insurance Research Council.

People think that because they have insurance on their car, they are protected. But as a car accident lawyer, let me tell you, this could not be more wrong.

Your auto insurance often will only protect the person you injure if you cause a car accident. But what happens if you are driving in Detroit, you’re hit by an uninsured driver and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage (UM)? If you’re in a car accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance, you can lose everything, including any right to collect for your pain and suffering and injuries.

But with the right auto insurance, this does not have to happen.

Please read the information below about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Our car accident attorneys recommend that you purchase this valuable insurance.

What is UM?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage provides a valuable source of legal recovery after a car accident, when someone is injured by another driver who is uninsured or does not have adequate insurance.

With UM coverage an injured person turns to his or her own auto insurance company to pay what would have been recovered from the at-fault driver, had that person been properly insured with an insurance policy limit to cover their injuries.

To be compensated under a UM policy, an injured driver must show that the other driver was uninsured and was legally at fault in causing the auto accident.

How much does uninsured motorist coverage cost and how much should I buy?

Uninsured motorist coverage is very inexpensive. As I always say, for the price of a movie and popcorn, you can make sure your family is protected. You can speak with your insurance agent for specific pricing.

Our accident attorneys recommend you buy $500,000 worth of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You will be shocked how inexpensive it is to protect you and your family with this much coverage.

What should I know when discussing underinsured motorist coverage with my agent?

Some auto insurance companies do not tell their policy holders about UM. You might have to personally ask for this important insurance coverage.

Be aware of the insurance policy’s notice requirements. Each auto insurance policy has time frames in which a car insurance company must be informed of an accident. For instance, some policies require that the insurance company must be informed of a car accident within 30 days of the date the car accident occurred with an uninsured driver. If notice is late, an auto insurance company can deny contractual benefits like UM/UIM. This actually happened to one of my clients, and she received nothing after she was seriously injured by an uninsured driver. Because these are contractual additional coverages, the terms of the policy must be carefully followed. Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer if you have questions. Policies are difficult to read, but the terms must be complied with or you can lose the right to collect uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Avoid Progressive Insurance Company. Please avoid Progressive or any other auto insurance company that sells UM/UIM with insurance policies that allow them to “set-off” or deduct from a UM/UIM policy limit — that the auto insurance company is required to make by law for medical bills and wage loss. It’s also important to avoid insurance companies with policies that allow them to deduct other benefits from uninsured motorist coverage, such as workers compensation. If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, make sure your work compensation lawyer knows about your UM insurance.

What else should I do to make sure I’m properly protected when buying automobile insurance?

The most important advice that any car accident attorney can give you is to read your insurance policy. You must ask your insurance agent, if, for example, family members who do not live with a vehicle’s owner will still be covered under a UM/UIM policy, even if they have been given permission to drive a car that’s covered by uninsured motorist coverage.

If you don’t understand the language in your insurance policy, you can always call an accident attorney. It’s better to make sure your questions are answered and that you fully understand your insurance rights.

Remember, you can visit Facebook.com/MichiganAutoLaw to enter to win a $1,032 check as part of our distracted driving and insurance awareness campaign. The prize money is enough to buy Michigan auto insurance including UM/UIM for an entire year.

Steven Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top accident attorneys handling serious car accident cases and No-Fault insurance litigation. He writes about Michigan No-Fault law and insurance issues, and is available for comment.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by TheBusyBrain

Related information to protect yourself:

Insurance coverage issues and Michigan car accidents

3 potential cases after an auto accident in Michigan

The insurance coverage that an insurance lawyer recommends

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan accident attorneys.

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