Uninsured Motorist Coverage - What You Should Know

According to the Insurance Research Council, 18% of drivers in California are uninsured and that number is climbing everyday. Here are some tips how uninsured motorist coverage can help protect you if you are injured in an auto accident caused by an uninsured driver.

California law requires every automobile insurance policy to include uninsured motorist coverage. This is a valuable aspect of your insurance policy. It protects you when driving a car and you are injured by an uninsured driver or a hit and run driver. It also protects you if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist and are hit by an uninsured driver or hit and run driver. Uninsured coverage is automatically included in your policy unless you decline the coverage in writing. Therefore, never waive the uninsured motorist coverage.

The policy will cover all damages that the uninsured driver would be legally responsible for. For example, it will cover damages for pain and suffering for personal injuries, medical expenses, time off work etc. The coverage will only be limited by the amount of your coverage. In California the minimum coverage is $15,000.00. However, to protect yourself you can purchase a much higher limit (before your accident occurs). I strongly recommend that you have liability and uninsured motorist coverages in an amount of $250,000.00 or more.

Uninsured motorist coverage, applies not only to uninsured drivers but to hit and run collisions. In a hit and run collision, California law requires that there be contact between the hit and run vehicle and your vehicle. If there is no contact, the hit and run claim will be denied. Contact however need not be major, even the slightest touching is sufficient. Also, you will be required to file a police report.

The coverage also applies to you, even if you were not driving a car, e.g. if you were a pedestrian or bicyclist injured by an uninsured motorist.

Following any injury accident, a SR-1 form must be filed with the DMV. Then an SR-19 form will need to be filed afterwards to prove the other driver was uninsured. It is a good idea to always file this, even though some companies may not require this. The forms can be obtained from the DMV website.

If you have questions about uninsured motorist coverage, please feel free to call our office at any time or email us at tlewellynlaw@sbcglobal.net.

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