Thomas E. Scifres PC - Attorney At Law.
Thomas E. Scifres PC - Attorney At Law.
  • 43 Public Square,
    Suite 103,
    Salem, IN 47167
  • Schedule Your Free Personal Injury Consultation.

    (812) 359-8007

    Call For An Appointment To Discuss Your Needs.

Understanding The Benefits of Indiana UM Coverage

In this article, you can find answers to questions like:

  • What do I do if I’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver in Indiana?
  • Will my UM/UIM coverage add to an underinsured motorist’s coverage?
  • Why do I need an attorney if I’ve been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver?

If I Have Medical Insurance, Why Should I Buy UM Coverage On My Car Insurance Policy?

Understanding the importance of an Uninsured Motorist policy is crucial to making informed decisions about how you pursue comprehensive coverage.

There are a few reasons why you should consider adding this coverage to your overall insurance…

One of the most important aspects to consider is that your health insurance coverage will nearly always include certain deductibles and/or co-pays. Additionally, it is very rare that a health insurance policy will provide coverage for every medical expense.

When it comes to health insurance coverage, the patient is usually subject to a deductible of $5,000 (if not more), in addition to any co-pays a health insurance policy may call for. What’s more, there may be certain treatments that are not covered. Some of the reasons for this may include:

  • You were taken to a provider outside of your network in an emergency.
  • The recommended treatment required pre-approval, which couldn’t be obtained.
  • Co-pay obligations.
  • And more…

In these instances, your UIM policy should help provide coverage for both the bills that extend beyond your healthcare policy, as well as coverage for passengers in your vehicle who may not have health insurance.

Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage Affordable?

UM/UIM coverage is some of the most affordable coverage you can purchase. I always recommend that you carry the highest liability limits you can afford, and then make sure that your UM/UIM limits match that. This way, you can ensure that your policy provides you with the most robust coverage in the event of an accident.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being In An Accident With An Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist?

There are a few misconceptions surrounding UM/UIM coverage, but the biggest typically has to do with coverage limits.

This misconception is that your UM/UIM coverage limits get added to whatever coverage the liable party has. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Your UM/UIM limits represent the maximum recovery you can receive in total whenever an uninsured or underinsured motorist causes you injury and damages.

This means that your UIM coverage does not “stack” on top of the other driver’s limits. Instead, it represents the maximum total coverage available to you. So if you have $300,000 UIM limits, your maximum additional recovery will only be $275,000. Likewise, if the other driver had $100,000 liability limits and you had $100,000 UIM limits, there would be no additional coverage.

What Happens In An Accident When The Driver Has UIM Coverage?

First, liability has to be determined. UIM does not apply unless the other driver is deemed to be at fault.

Second, you will notify the other driver’s insurance carrier that you are making a claim.

Third, we would notify your UIM carrier. In this notification, we would explain that:

  • There has been a crash,
  • That was someone else was at fault,
  • That we may be making a UIM claim,
  • We currently don’t know the extent of the injuries,
  • We currently don’t know the extent of the other person’s coverage.

Why do you need to notify your insurance company of an accident if you’re not at fault and you have UIM coverage?

This third step is important because every insurance policy contains language that requires cooperation, prompt notification of claims, and that no action be taken to prejudice their right to investigate.

In this way, when the day comes to settle your UIM claim with your insurance company, you will have enough of a dispute on your hands trying to get them to pay what you think they should pay.

The last thing you want is for the company to claim that they aren’t obligated to provide coverage because you didn’t notify them of the claim or because they have been unable to conduct a meaningful investigation.

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

Under Indiana law, there are various time limits to file any kind of lawsuit. These time limits are called the Statute of Limitations, and they vary based on the type of claim in question.

For instance, a Personal Injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of the loss. But a Breach of Contract claim has a longer statute of limitations. The length of the period will likely differ based on the subject matter of the contract. Generally speaking, a UIM claim is a contract claim, but it arises out of a personal injury loss.

Therefore, UIM claim is typically brought along with the personal injury claim within two years from the date of the accident. However, an issue that may come into play has to do with the insurance policy language itself.

Indiana law holds that an insurance policy is a contract, the terms of which were negotiated by the parties: the insurance provider and you, the insured. In reality, we all know that we can’t “negotiate” the language of our pre-printed standard insurance policy with our insurance agent when we take out the coverage. Nevertheless, Indiana law holds to this legal fiction.

This is important to understand because Indiana law allows parties to “contract away” rights they may otherwise have. This means that an insurance company can impose a shorter time limit for filing certain types of claims under their policy. This is more often the case with property loss claims rather than UIM, but reviewing the terms of all coverages in your policy is imperative.

Accordingly, it’s important that you notify the insurance company that you may be making a UIM claim immediately and ask for a certified copy of your insurance policy immediately so you can check for any deadlines that may be shortened.

In any case, the best first step is to contact an auto accident attorney who focuses on UM/UIM claims. This way, you can make sure that your case is protected from any interaction with the statute of limitations.

Is It Advisable To Sue An Uninsured Or Underinsured Person?

In most cases, it is advantageous to try and settle claims without a lawsuit. However, there are cases where you do need to file a lawsuit against the other driver because you’ve been unable to reach a settlement.

Additionally, you will generally file a suit against the UIM If the policy limits for the other driver are lower than your UIM limits. At which point, there are a number of options that the parties may have on how the matter is handled.

If you’re wondering whether or not filing a lawsuit is necessary for your injury claim, don’t wait to get in contact with a trusted UM/UIM claims attorney as soon as possible.

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

Your ability to recover damages from a UM lawsuit depends heavily on the company that you are working with. Much like people, insurance companies have different “personalities.” This means that each company has its own method and policy for handling claims over time.

It’s important to keep in mind that the goal of every company in a capitalist society is to maximize profits. For insurance companies in particular, there are three ways they try to do that: (1) take in more money each year by selling more policies and increasing coverages; (2) cutting operating costs ; and (3) paying out less money on claims each year.

Insurance companies put this last one into practice by developing standards for evaluating cases, and resisting claims is a standard practice. In fact, it’s a necessary part of every type of claim for the insurance provider to gain control over loss payouts. However, some companies may be a little more generous in paying out UIM claims than others. But, why?

If there has already been a maximum policy limit payment by the other driver, it shows that you are dealing with a serious injury. The need for excess coverage due to the nature of the injuries in these cases will highlight that it is not a minor or bogus claim.

Additionally, some insurance companies take a more favorable position when they are dealing with their own customer. In these cases, treating the claimant badly is likely to result in a loss of insurance premium if the customer leaves them. Over time, this would result in greater losses for the company.

In the end, each case is a business decision. So why leave it up to an insurance company to decide what your claim is worth? Instead, think about working with an attorney who can cut through the number crunching and get you the coverage you need.

For more information on Buying UM Coverage On Car Insurance Policy, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (812) 359-8007 today.

Thomas E. Scifres

Schedule Your Free Personal Injury Consultation.
(812) 359-8007
Call For An Appointment To Discuss Your Needs.

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