Dealing with insurance companies can be a scary thing, but like paying taxes, it is just one of those things we have to do. The Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist statute provides Louisiana drivers with added protection, often when they need it most.
In Louisiana, all drivers are required to purchase a minimum amount of auto liability insurance before operating a motor vehicle. Every motor vehicle insurance policy issued in this state comes with UM/UIM bodily injury coverage, unless expressly opted out by the insured. The insured may opt out of UM/UIM coverage or select lower limits, by completing a form and submitting it to their insurer.
UM/UIM insurance provides coverage for the insured driver when the insured is involved in an automobile accident with another driver who is at fault and whose insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the amount of bodily injury damages sustained by the injured driver. There is a two-year time period from the date of the accident in which a person can bring a claim under the UM/UIM statute.
Generally, it is the “at-fault” driver who is responsible for paying the damages sustained in a car accident. But if the “at-fault” driver does not have adequate insurance, or no insurance at all, the injured party may recover from their insurance provider. The insurance company will pay the difference between the amount of damages sustained and the amount paid out by the “at-fault” driver’s insurance. The injured party’s insurance company, however, will only pay up to the liability limits contained in the insurance policy.
For example, if Driver A gets in a wreck with Driver B, and B is at fault, A can recover from B’s insurance company for damages sustained. If B’s insurance policy limits coverage at $15,000 for bodily injury, and the amount of bodily injury damages sustained by A is $25,000, A can then turn to his insurance company to recover the remaining $10,000. This is because B would be considered an underinsured motorist and A’s UM/UIM coverage would cover the difference.
Written by Greg Gouner and Carmen Ryland