Filing an insurance claim when an uninsured or uninsured motorist caused an accident doesn’t raise your rates because you weren’t at fault. However, it’s important that you understand this coverage before initiating your claim so that you don’t say something to your insurer that could affect your claim. 

If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, Athens car accident lawyer Mike Rafi may be able to help you. Contact us online or call (706) 995-7547 to schedule your free consultation to learn more.

Continue reading to learn more about uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, how it can be used, and how it might help you.

What Georgia law says about UM/UIM claims and insurance rates

Under O.C.G.A §30-9-40, your insurance carrier cannot increase your premium or cancel your policy based on a valid UM/UIM claim, nor can they refuse to renew your policy–this is all because you weren’t at fault for the accident.

The purpose of UM/UIM coverage

The importance of uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage can’t be stressed enough because it covers the damages to your car and your medical costs if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, doesn’t have sufficient coverage to cover those costs, or if it was a hit-and-run accident and the driver of the other vehicle can’t be located. 

Although UM/UIM coverage isn’t required, it’s highly recommended that you include it in your policy because the minimum policy limits in Georgia are only: 

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person per accident, $50,000 total per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000.

Types of UM/UIM coverage

UM/UIM coverage is optional and its use varies–you’ll either be able to use the coverage to “offset” the underinsured motorist’s limits or as “add-on” coverage. The way it applies to an accident depends on the specific terms of your policy.  

Although your UM/UIM coverage is always available to you if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance or if they’re unable to be located, understanding the way your UM/UIM coverage applies when a driver is underinsured can be complicated. Review your policy declarations, and if you’re not sure what kind of coverage you have, ask your insurer or contact Athens car accident lawyer Mike Rafi.

Offset UM/UIM coverage

This is often also referred to as “traditional” or “reduction” coverage because the amount of your UM/UIM coverage that’s available to you is offset or reduced by the amount of the at-fault motorist’s liability coverage when they’re underinsured. If the driver is uninsured, your UM/UIM coverage can be used to its full limits.

Here are two examples of how offset coverage might be used in an accident:

  1. If the driver has a bodily injury limit of $25,000 and your UM/UIM coverage is also $25,000, then the offset amount is $0, so you don’t have any coverage available to you in excess of the $25,000 for any injuries you may have suffered in the accident. 
  2. If you had $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage, after subtracting the at-fault driver’s limits from yours, you’ll have $25,000 in additional coverage through your policy to cover your medical bills. 

Add-on UM/UIM coverage

If your policy allows you to add-on or stack your UM/UIM coverage, this means that you will always have funds in excess of the driver’s policy limits available to you in the event of an accident. Let’s use the same figures from the above example:

  1. Your $25,000 of UM/UIM coverage gets added to the at-fault driver’s $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, so you now have $50,000 in coverage available to you, should you need it.
  2. Your $50,000 limit per person for UM/UIM coverage gets added to the at-fault driver’s $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, so you now have $75,000 in available coverage.

Confused? Call Mike Rafi

If you’re still not sure what kind of coverage you have, or if you should file a claim against the uninsured driver who caused your wreck, contact Athens car accident lawyer Mike Rafi right away. You can contact him online or call him at (706) 995-7547 to schedule your free consultation.

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