The majority of my practice is spent representing car accident victims. Of course, insurance companies will use every trick in the book to try to prevent paying victims for the damages they have suffered, and convincing an insurance company to pay money is never an easy task. One conversation I hate to have, though, is when I have to tell a client that, even though we were able to convince the insurance company of your damages, there is simply not enough insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.
Almost everyone knows that Alabama law requires every driver to have insurance. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population does not abide by this law. Even for those drivers who do follow the law, many of them carry only the minimum required amount of coverage, which is $25,000.00. While $25,000.00 is certainly better than nothing, we often see clients with medical bills of $100,000.00 or even higher. $25,000.00 is clearly not sufficient to compensate the loss of any seriously injured victim.
Because so many drivers have either no insurance or minimum insurance coverage, it is absolutely crucial that every driver purchase a substantial amount of uninsured motorist coverage. In Alabama, uninsured motorist coverage also includes underinsured motorist coverage, so it protects you whether the other driver has no insurance or just not enough insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage essentially steps in and compensates you when the other driver runs out of insurance coverage.
In addition to obvious problems of not having uninsured motorist coverage noted above, there are several advantages to this type of coverage:
- First, the coverage follows you wherever you go. You don’t have to be driving your own car to be protected. If you’re in a friend’s car, the coverage would protect you. You don’t even have to be in a car yourself. If you’re a pedestrian and are hit by someone else’s car, the coverage would protect you.
- Second, uninsured motorist coverage is incredibly cheap for the amount of the coverage you are purchasing. My wife and I have coverage of $250,000.00 per person on each of our 2 vehicles. For that amount of coverage, we pay only about $200.00 per year.
- Third, under Alabama law, uninsured motorist coverage is able to be “stacked” for up to 3 vehicles. So, since my wife and I have $250,000.00 in coverage per person on each vehicle and we have 2 vehicles, we actually have $500,000.00 in coverage per person. So, if my wife and I are out driving one day and get injured in a wreck and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, our policies will pay each of one of our damages, up to $500,000.00 per person. That’s a total of $1,000,000.00 in coverage for about $200.00 per year. Now, I certainly hope I never have to use this insurance, but if I do, that will be $200.00 that was extremely well spent.
I hope that after reading this, you’ll have a discussion with your family and decide to call your insurance company to discuss how much uninsured motorist coverage is right for you, so that neither I, nor any other attorney, ever has to tell you that there’s not enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries.