Continuing yesterday’s discussion of insurance coverage, this is a question I’m asked pretty frequently as a Los Angeles accident attorney.
And like many legal matters, the answer depends!
As a starting point, I advise most of my clients to carry the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage as they carry on their underlying policy.
For example, if a client tells me he’s insured for $100,000 in bodily injury liability, my starting point would be to advise him to also carry $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is essential in this day-and-age. Millions of drivers in California are driving every day without insurance! And millions who have insurance carry the minimum amount of $15,000. Those limits were enacted in the 1970s, and most serious accidents (and even many minor ones) cause more than $15,000 in injury damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage will also protect you against being hurt in an accident caused by an underinsured driver. For example, if you’re hurt in an accident caused by someone who is only insured for $15,000, and you carry uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000, you might potentially be able to collect $35,000 after exhausting the $15,000 from the driver who caused the accident. Of course, this would depend on a variety of factors, so check with an attorney for particular advice about your case.
One caveat is that you cannot carry more coverage under your uninsured motorist benefits than you would on the underlying policy. For example, if you’re insured for $100,000, you cannot carry uninsured coverage for $250,000.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist cases are also different in that your own insurance company takes the place of the insurance company for the driver who caused your injuries. As such, these cases must be submitted to arbitration for quicker resolution (instead of slogging through court for years).
For more information about uninsured motorist coverage, you can read this recent post that discusses these issues in more depth.
For questions about your case, the Rabbi Lawyer is just one phone call away!