According the Oklahoma Insurance Department, Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) coverage pays you, resident members of your family, and occupants of your vehicle for personal injuries caused by an uninsured motorist, an underinsured motorist or a hit and run driver. While you are not required by law to carry this coverage, insurance companies are required to offer it with every automobile policy because UM coverage can be critical in ensuring that you or a loved one is fully compensated for personal injuries caused by another driver in an automobile wreck. UM coverage is one of the most important coverages you can buy.
Driving without liability insurance is illegal in 49 states, including Oklahoma, but the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that an increasing percentage of the American motoring public risks driving without it. Their estimate is based on a 2009 Insurance Research Council (IRC) study, which approximated that 13.8 percent of motorists nationwide drove without insurance in 2007. In that same study, the IRC estimated that Oklahoma motorists exceeded the national average with 24 percent uninsured. The III anticipates that those figures are on the rise, projecting that 18 percent, or one out of seven drivers, are uninsured nationwide this year, largely as a result of economic insecurity and unemployment. If you are hit by an uninsured driver or a hit and run driver, UM coverage may be the only insurance available to compensate you or a loved one for the injuries suffered by the actions of another driver.
Moreover, tens of thousands of Oklahoma drivers only carry the minimum amount of compulsory liability insurance required by Oklahoma law. Currently, the minimum amount is $25,000 and is among the lowest in the country. This amount may seem like a lot, but due to ever-increasing healthcare costs and the potential for serious injuries, minimum liability limits are rarely enough to fully protect you and your family from an underinsured driver. If you are hit by a driver carrying only the minimum liability limits and you incur more than $25,000 in medical expenses, you could be forced to pay the difference out of pocket and you would receive no compensation for items such as lost wages, physical pain and suffering, etc. Essentially, UM coverage is instrumental in protecting you and/or your family from an uninsured or underinsured driver where serious injuries may be involved.
TIPS TO PROTECT AGAINST UNINSURED & UNDERINSURED DRIVERS
- GET UM COVERAGE! CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT TO INQUIRE ABOUT UM COVERAGE AND FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE COVERAGE, AND IF NOT, HOW YOU CAN GET IT.
- CONSULT YOUR INSURANCE AGENT TO DETERMINE WHAT COVERAGE YOU HAVE AND TO CONFIRM THAT IT IS THE APPROPRIATE TYPE AND AMOUNT TO PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR ASSETS.
- REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE REGULARLY AND UPDATE IT TO REFLECT HOUSEHOLD CHANGES, SUCH AS NEW DRIVERS OR NEW VEHICLES AND FEATURES.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS RELATED TO UNINSURED/ UNDERINSURED COVERAGE?
If you or a loved one have been affected by an uninsured or underinsured claim , we encourage you to consult with our team as soon as possible. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, you can rest assured that should you choose to work with us, you will have legal representation that you can trust. At Fulmer Sill, all initial consultations are free, and we don’t charge any up-front fees for representation. We handle all fees on a contingency basis, meaning that unless we’re successful, you don’t have to pay us. Please contact Fulmer Sill at (405)510.0077 for a free consultation.