The Roch Law Firm, P.C.

Is The UM Automatically Added To My Policy Or Do I Have To Request It?


The default role in Georgia, if you get car insurance, is that you have UM coverage unless you elect not to have it. That is, you have to have made a selection not to have that coverage. That said, you only have to make that selection one time. Many people forget about whether they made that election or not. If you are unsure whether you have UM coverage, it’s important to review your policy so that you know what you have. If changes need to be made, it’s extremely important to make those changes before you need the coverage.

Is UM Coverage Even Affordable Or Realistic?

The cost of UM coverage is generally affordable, depending on the amount you need, your driving history and similar factors. Talk to a car insurance professional if you are interested in this coverage.

What Are The Top Misconceptions About Getting Into An Accident With An Uninsured Motorist?

The biggest misconception that people have about UM coverage is that they think that the UM coverage has to specifically name them in order for it to apply. In Georgia, there is a public policy of people having as much insurance as possible. Georgia wants to minimize the situations where someone in a car wreck doesn’t have enough insurance, or there is a situation where there is no insurance. One of the ways that the state does that is by having a general rule that if you have uninsured motorist coverage, but also live with a family member related to you by blood or marriage who also has uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to stack these policies together.

In other words, in looking whether you have uninsured motorist coverage, you need to look not only to your own policy, but also at the policies of resident relatives that live with you. That means at the outset of any claim, it’s important to determine the living arrangements of you and your family, to ensure that all coverage is identified and all insurance companies are given notice of the possible claim. Another misconception is that where the other driver has coverage, you should not worry about your own UM coverage, or notify your insurance company of the wreck. This is a bad idea. If the other driver does not have enough coverage, you may be stuck with limited coverage if you do not notify your insurance timely. Furthermore, there can be situations where you think the at-fault driver has coverage, but the insurance company denies their coverage. This could happen if the at-fault driver forgets to pay their premium.

To avoid being left out in the cold, it is best to notify your own insurance company, and properly look over the claims.

What Happens If A Driver That Has UM Coverage Is Involved In An Accident?

In simplest terms, when there’s uninsured motorist coverage, it simply means that there is another source of insurance coverage which might apply to the wreck. It’s similar to a situation where you’re trying to put out a fire and there’s a bucket of water, which is the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. If you have UM coverage, it’s like having an extra bucket of water. You have to go and empty the first bucket, which is the at-fault driver’s bucket, but if you empty that bucket and the fire is still burning, you can then reach to your own bucket and get additional coverage. That means that if you’re in a wreck where the at-fault driver has a lot of coverage, then UM coverage likely won’t matter, unless there’s a problem with the at-fault driver’s coverage such as a missed premium.

If, however, there is not enough insurance, then the claim goes first to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When that insurance company pays the limit to their policy, in other words, the most that they’re liable to pay, then the claim then turns to the uninsured motorist coverage to make up difference.

Is There A Certain Time Limit To File A UM Claim?

Generally, the UM claim follows the at-fault claim. This means that you have generally two years from the date to file your claim. There are important exceptions to this rule, which may provide for more or less time depending on your specific claim. If you are concerned about the time limits on your own claim, it’s important not to delay, and to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.

Is It Advisable To Sue An Uninsured Or Underinsured Person?

Generally, the rules on suing an uninsured or underinsured person are the same as they would be generally for suing the at-fault driver. There are instances where it’s advisable to do so, and instances where it’s not. In general, you’re looking for three things. You’re looking for there to be a wreck that’s caused by the other driver, you’re looking for there to be damages, which means you have bills or other injuries related to the wreck, and the final thing is that there is some source of income or some source of money that would pay the judgment. Here, the real question is, would your own uninsured motorist coverage pay the judgment, if the other driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage.

Is It Difficult To Recoup A Settlement From A Lawsuit Against An Uninsured Or Underinsured Person?

If you have uninsured motorist coverage that is available coverage for the wreck, then that coverage basically steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver. This means that if the at-fault driver is responsible to you for the wreck in a certain value, the only thing that really changes is that instead of that at-fault driver paying that amount, or that at-fault driver’s insurance paying that amount, your own insurance company pays that amount in the shoes of the at-fault driver. It’s not difficult to recoup a settlement from lawsuits involving uninsured and underinsured people, so long as you have your own uninsured motorist coverage that would apply to any judgment.

Additional Information About UM Coverage In Georgia

One of the things that is specific to Georgia is we have what’s called Reduced by Limits and Excess. When you have uninsured motorist coverage, there are actually two types of uninsured motorist coverage you could have. You could have coverage called Add-on or Excess coverage, or you could have coverage that is called Reduced by Limits. Reduced by Limits coverage is cheaper than Add-on and Excess coverage, but it is a lot less desirable to have. The way that it works is that if you have $50,000 of Reduced by Limits coverage, and the other driver has $25,000 of at-fault coverage, then what would happen is you would have $25,000 of at-fault coverage and then the UM coverage would be reduced by the $25,000, so you have an additional $25,000 of UM coverage for a total of $50,000.

If you have Add-on or Excess UM coverage, then you just add your own uninsured motorist coverage on top of any liability coverage. So in that example, if the at-fault driver had $25,000 of coverage and you have $50,000 of add-on UM coverage, then you have $75,000 of total coverage. When you look at your declarations page or your policy, pay attention to whether your UM coverage says that it’s Reduced by Limits or Add-on. If it says “Reduced by limits,” consider getting Add-on or Excess coverage, because it provides a lot more protection to you, and it’s not much more expensive than the Reduced by Limits would be.

For more information on Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 345-7624 today.

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