Why Do I Need Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Louisiana law requires drivers to obtain a minimum amount ($15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident) of “liability” coverage to pay for damages they cause to others. This liability coverage is mandatory for all vehicles registered in Louisiana. However, many drivers either (1) fail to obtain liability coverage (“uninsured” motorists) or (2) do not obtain enough (“underinsured” motorists). This is why making sure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in your own auto insurance policy is important.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance?
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage, or “UM”, is designed to protect you in the event you are involved in an automobile accident with another driver who:
- Is at fault and has no liability coverage to pay your claims (“uninsured”); or
- Is at fault and doesn’t have enough liability insurance to pay you for the full value of your claims (“underinsured”).
If you suffer injuries from a car accident with an uninsured driver and you have UM coverage, you can file your initial claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy to receive compensation. If the car accident is with an underinsured driver, you’ll have to file the initial claim against the other driver’s automobile liability insurance policy and exhaust the insurance before you can recover the remaining value of your injuries from your uninsured/underinsured policy, with a few exceptions.
But If I File Against My Insurance, Won’t My Rates Go Up?
Almost every time I discuss filing uninsured/underinsured claims with clients, they ask whether their insurance premiums will increase or whether their policy will be cancelled if they file such a claim. My answer is always NO! Under Louisiana law, your insurer is prohibited from acting against you merely because you filed a UM claim. Your insurance company collects a uninsured/underinsured coverage premium from you every month so that you will be afforded uninsured/underinsured coverage if you ever need it, as in the circumstances listed above. If you are paying a premium every month for such coverage, you should have no hesitation with using it when you need it.
Otherwise, you are just throwing money away.
Louisiana’s insurance code presumes uninsured/underinsured coverage in every policy unless the insured specifically rejects/elects otherwise. In other words, if your insurance company does not offer you uninsured/uninsured motorist coverage, you automatically have uninsured/underinsured coverage under Louisiana law until you sign a form rejecting the coverage.
The Russell Law Firm represents clients with car accident and underinsured/uninsured motorist claims throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.
Our firm is experienced and highly skilled in handling uninsured/underinsured motorist claims from car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident in Baton Rouge or anywhere else in Louisiana, make the Right Call, Right Now and contact a Louisiana car accident attorney at the Russell Law Firm today at 225-307-0088. We will take a hand on and aggressive approach towards getting you compensated for your losses.
**Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.
By: Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana.