Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is an important yet often misunderstood type of auto insurance. In Louisiana, you are not required to have UM insurance, but there are many reasons to purchase this type of coverage as part of your auto insurance policy.
Here, we’ve broken down some things you should know about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Louisiana, including the many benefits of electing this type of coverage. Continue reading to learn more or contact Womac Law Firm directly to speak to one of our New Orleans car accident attorneys about your case for free.
What Is UM/UIM Insurance?
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage are often lumped together, but they are actually two separate types of insurance. UM insurance protects you in the event you are hit by a driver who does not carry any auto insurance, including Louisiana’s minimum liability insurance requirements. It also protects you if you are unable to obtain the at-fault driver’s insurance information for any reason, including when they flee the scene of the accident (known as a “hit-and-run”).
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, on the other hand, is a type of insurance that provides supplementary coverage if you are hit by someone who does not have enough insurance to cover the total cost of your accident-related damages. This is often the case when the at-fault driver only has the state’s minimum liability insurance coverage, which is relatively low at just $15,000/$30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person/accident and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
What Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover?
In Louisiana, UM/UIM insurance covers both economic and non-economic losses you sustain due to a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver or party.
Depending on the specifics of your case, your UM/UIM insurance could cover you for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care costs
- Lost wages/income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Note that Louisiana has two types of UM/UIM coverage: UM/UIM Bodily Injury coverage and UM/UIM Property Damage coverage. If you only have UM/UIM Bodily Injury coverage, you cannot recover for property damage, and vice versa.
It is also important to note that UM/UIM coverage does not only apply to the driver; passengers and occupants of the vehicle are also covered under your policy.
Types of UM/UIM Insurance in Louisiana
There are several types of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Louisiana:
- “Non-Economic” UM/UIM Coverage: This covers both economic and non-economic damages following a motor vehicle accident for which another party is at fault. This means you can recover compensation for financial losses and intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.
- Limited “Economic Only” UM/UIM Coverage: This type of UM/UIM insurance only covers economic losses, meaning those with a specific dollar amount attached to them. Examples of economic losses include medical bills and lost wages.
- UM/UIM Property Damage Coverage: UM/UIM Property Damage insurance covers damages related to property damage resulting from an accident, such as vehicle repairs. Standard UM/UIM insurance typically only covers bodily injury-related damages.
- Lowered Limits UM/UIM Coverage: While you cannot purchase more UM/UIM coverage than bodily injury (BI) coverage in Louisiana, you can elect to lower your UM/UIM limits, rather than match your BI coverage. This results in lower premiums, but also means you have less coverage.
Considering the value of UM/UIM coverage, the cost of electing this type of insurance is relatively low—typically only a few extra dollars a month. In Louisiana, an alarming number of motorists are uninsured; UM/UIM insurance can ultimately save you thousands of dollars after a serious accident.
How to Add UM/UIM Insurance to Your Policy
Although UM/UIM insurance is not mandatory in Louisiana, your insurance provider must offer this type of coverage as part of your overall auto insurance policy. You likely already have UM/UIM coverage unless you specifically rejected it when purchasing your insurance policy.
If you would like to review your auto insurance policy and/or add UM/UIM coverage, contact your auto insurance provider. You can also reach out to our attorneys at Womac Law Firm. We can help you go over your current auto insurance policy and provide our professional advice regarding the best coverage for your particular needs.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a UM/UIM Claim?
If you are involved in a hit-and-run or are injured by an uninsured/underinsured motorist, it is important that you contact an attorney who has experience with UM/UIM claims. Even if you have this type of coverage already, filing a claim and recovering compensation for your damages can be difficult. Your insurance company may try to underpay your claim and offer a lowball settlement.
When you work with the team at Womac Law Firm, you position yourself for success. Our New Orleans uninsured motorist claims attorneys have extensive experience handling UM and UIM claims in Louisiana. We know the law, and we know how to fight for every dollar you deserve.