Number 15 – What can give you better protection on the road?

U.M. (Uninsured Motorist) insurance coverage can do that. The writer is not affiliated with or in any way connected with any insurance company. No one should drive or even occupy a vehicle where U.M. coverage is not available, unless there is other adequate insurance (or assets) to afford protection. U.M. and U.I.M. (Underinsured Motorist) coverages are synonymous for exposure purposes in that each is offered when you buy U.M. coverage in your auto policy.

There are numerous ways you need U.M. coverage if you are involved in a vehicular collision (auto accident). Obviously, should the other person causing the wreck not have insurance, you will probably need to use your U.M. coverage. U.I.M. coverage will be triggered when the other driver has insurance, but it is insufficient (and your U.M. limits are higher). There are many ways however, where the at-fault driver may have full insurance coverage, but those insurance benefits will be denied to you. One main example of this is the clause, which is often referred to as the Cooperativeness Clause, which is in most, if not all, insurance policies today in Georgia. There is also “added on” U.M. coverage, which we can explain to you.

This clause allows the at-fault driver’s insurance company to deny benefits when their insured (at-fault driver) is not cooperating with them in their investigation (and evaluation) of your claims (and any possible defenses which they need to posture). This happens occasionally when the at-fault driver moves, leaves no forwarding address (no trail) and does not renew his auto insurance. This can be construed as the at-fault driver being uncooperative. Another common denial by the at-fault insurance carrier is when the at-fault driver does not have permission to drive the particular vehicle (involved in the wreck). The list goes on, but the important thing to remember is that every driver should seriously consider U.M. coverage.

U.M. minimal limits are 25/50 ($25,000 per person / $50,000 per incident. One quick way to check your coverage is to read the declaration page in your policy and compare your liability coverage to your U.M. coverage. The U.M. coverage (which protects you) should usually be an amount at least equal to the liability coverage (which protects the other driver). The additional expense is minimal, and the protection gained may be invaluable.

David R. Moore