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What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Most states have laws regarding the type of insurance that a person needs to possess in order to be able to legally drive a car. Auto insurance coverage generally provides for financial compensation by the faulty party to the innocent party of an accident. However, in some circumstances the faulty party may not have sufficient insurance (or no insurance at all). In such a case, the innocent party will not obtain the required compensation nor will his medical expenses be met. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a component of your insurance and will pay for injuries sustained by you and your passengers as well as for damages to your property in case the other (faulty) driver is found to be uninsured or underinsured.

What are the advantages of Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

The advantage of UM coverage is evident. In many states, the number of uninsured drivers is as high as 25% - even though insurance is a legal requirement. In some major metropolitan areas, this figure usually reaches 50%. Often, people with insurance also allow their coverage to lapse because of late payments of premium so that they are not covered at the time of the accident. The chances of coming across one of them in an accident are therefore quite high. Without an UMC, the damage done to your health and car will not be paid by your insurance company and you will be left alone in this time of need. UMC gives greater protection against drivers who are not insured. Moreover, UM Coverage is relatively cheap and affordable for most. UMC also applies in cases of hit-and-run, where the faulty party cannot be identified or is absconding.

Is it a requirement?

In most states, UMC is not a legal requirement. This however, does not diminish the importance of UMC as you will still be left without any compensation if you are in an accident with an uninsured person.

How to Claim for Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

It is the responsibility of the innocent driver to prove that the other driver was in fact uninsured or underinsured. This can be done by obtaining a statement from the driver’s insurance company or the police. The next step is to prove that the other person was in fact the source of the accident. This can be done in the following ways:

- Obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses present on site immediately after the accident. This must be done quickly as many of them will leave the site before the arrival of the police.

- Contact the police and obtain a copy of the accident report.

- Write down the sequence of events leading to the accident.

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