The Importance of Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Did you know that approximately 14 percent of all drivers in the US lack the minimum required auto insurance coverage? While the percentage is lower in New York State, there are still five percent of drivers who hit the road without insurance.
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Auto insurance is not only a legal requirement, but it also serves to protect both your finances and your well-being in case of an accident caused by someone else. In the unfortunate event that you become the innocent victim of a car accident, the responsible driver could potentially compensate you for your losses under New York law. However, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, recovering compensation can be extremely challenging.
Reading: What is uim insurance coverage
In such situations, your best option may be to file a claim under the underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy. Consulting a New York City accident attorney can assist you through this process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you suffer injuries in a car accident caused by another driver, you have the right to sue the at-fault driver and seek damages. Normally, your liability insurance would cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses resulting from the accident.
However, some drivers who are at fault either lack insurance altogether or carry insufficient coverage to compensate for all damages. In New York, the minimum liability coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. If your losses exceed these amounts, you won’t receive full compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer. This is where your own underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage comes into play. If the at-fault driver had no insurance or fled the scene, you can make a claim through your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Essentially, UM/UIM coverage allows your insurance company to step in and financially support you when the responsible driver cannot. Without UM/UIM coverage, your only recourse may be to sue the at-fault driver directly, hoping they have the assets to pay your bills. Unfortunately, this approach often leaves accident victims with insufficient compensation, as many drivers lack the necessary funds.
New York law mandates that all drivers purchase uninsured motorist coverage. You must obtain UM coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Typically, insurance companies bundle underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage together, offering policies that cover both scenarios. Considering the potential risks, it’s advisable to purchase more than the minimum required UM/UIM coverage when selecting your insurance policy.
Filing an Underinsured Motorist Claim in New York
When it comes to UM/UIM claims, you should file with your own insurance company. Contact your insurer, explain the accident details, and provide evidence showing that the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage. It’s wise to engage an attorney to help you gather the necessary evidence, navigate the claim process, and deal with the insurance company. Remember, insurance companies prioritize their own financial interests, not yours.
Insurance providers often search for reasons to deny claims or offer minimal settlements to save money. Your goal, on the other hand, is to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses. While insurance companies have their experts working for them, you should have your own expert attorney fighting for your rights.
How a New York Uninsured Car Accident Lawyer Can Assist
If you find yourself in a collision with an underinsured or uninsured driver, consulting a New York City car accident attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can provide valuable assistance in:
- Searching for all potential sources of insurance coverage
- Understanding the coverage available through your own insurer
- Gathering evidence required to support your claim for damages
- Negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement with the insurance company
- Reviewing settlement offers to ensure the insurer meets its obligations
If an insurance company wrongly denies your claim or treats you unfairly during the claims process, it may be considered a breach of the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” in your insurance contract. This situation, commonly known as “bad faith,” can entitle you to file a lawsuit against your insurer seeking compensation for damages caused by their wrongful acts. In such cases, you may potentially receive payment exceeding the limits outlined in your policy, including damages and punitive amounts.
For further information on uninsured and underinsured claims and to learn how a New York City accident attorney can assist you, reach out to David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a free consultation. Call 212-279-2000 today or fill out our online contact form.
- Insurance Journal