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What is uninsured motorist coverage and why do I need it?

October 21, 2020

When you’re shopping for auto insurance, one of the things you’ll be paying for in Louisiana is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. 

But what is uninsured motorist coverage, and why do you need it? Uninsured motorist insurance, also known as UMI, is an added insurance protection in case of accidents. UMI will protect you in accidents caused by: 

  • Another driver who doesn’t have insurance
  • A driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages they caused
  • A driver whose insurance company denies your claims or goes bankrupt

In some states, uninsured motorist insurance is required in order to drive. In Louisiana, for example, insurance companies are required to include UMI in their policies, and drivers must opt out in writing if they choose not to have it. 

If you think your chances of encountering an uninsured driver are extremely low, think again. The Louisiana Department of Insurance estimates that 15% of drivers in Louisiana don’t carry required insurance on their vehicles.

That means if you are in an accident, there’s a 15% chance that the other driver doesn’t have insurance.Since this type of coverage is not required, you might be wondering if you need the extra coverage. 

It depends. To determine whether UMI is right for you, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you have good health insurance that would cover any injuries you sustain in an accident with an uninsured driver? 
  • Will you have to pay an extremely high deductible to get health coverage? 
  • Do you have other insurance in your auto policy - like expanded collision coverage - that would pay for car damages you sustain in an accident with an uninsured driver? 
  • How high is your deductible for collision coverage? 

If the answer to most of these questions is no, you may want to consider uninsured motorist coverage.If you decide to go with UMI, Louisiana law requires drivers to carry at least the following: 

  • $15,000 per person for bodily injury coverage
  • $30,000 per accident 
  • $25,000 for property damage liability coverage

Your uninsured motorist coverage must be at least equal to your liability coverage, unless you choose lower amounts or coverage only for economic losses, not pain and suffering. (In which case you also have to opt out in writing.)Auto insurance policies can be extremely convoluted, so make sure you understand the process before making any big decisions.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have questions about your insurance coverage, contact Wright Gray personal injury attorneys for a consultation.


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