Yes, every insured driver in Louisiana should have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, abbreviated as UM or UIM. Although the coverage is not required by law, insurance companies must offer you UM/UIM insurance, and you must reject the coverage in writing if you do not want to pay for it.
Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Some drivers may choose to reject coverage to save money, but many recognize the value of uninsured motorist insurance. Usually, UM/UIM coverage costs a fraction of what liability coverage costs and provides valuable resources in collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. Unless you specifically rejected UM/UIM insurance, the coverage should be included in your policy.
If your insurance company fails to offer you UM/UIM insurance or does not have a record of you rejecting the coverage, they may still have to cover you in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
The laws surrounding uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance are available in §1295 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.
What UM/UIM Coverage Does
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you when someone without insurance causes a car accident – or when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. Most UM/UIM policies allow $15,000 per person in the vehicle and $30,000 per accident to cover medical expenses. You can also file suit to pursue compensation for emotional costs like pain and suffering, and your insurance policy will usually pay for them, unless you purchased an economic-only policy.
In Louisiana, approximately 13.9% of insurance claims involve an uninsured driver, so you should carry UM/UIM coverage to ensure you and your passengers can afford medical treatment.
Again, under state law, you have this coverage unless you rejected it in writing.
What Your Insurance Company Can and Cannot Do
Your insurance company cannot raise your rates or drop you because you file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. UM/UIM claims are considered “nonfault incidents,” which means you (the driver of the insured vehicle) were not at fault.
If your insurance company raises your rates or drops you due to a nonfault incident, you are entitled to a refund of your premiums and a penalty payment. Additionally, your insurance company will have to cover your attorney fees.
Many people are hesitant to file a valid UM/UIM claim because they feel insurance companies can do whatever they want, but this is simply not the case.
When you file a claim, your insurance company must also assess and pay your claim in a timely manner (usually within 30 to 60 days). If they fail to do so, you can file a lawsuit and recover all kinds of damages from your insurance company.
That being said, you must file your claim within 2 years of the accident, and your insurance company can ask for “proof of loss” and other types of evidence. The 30-60-day clock only begins ticking when your insurance company has all the information it needs to evaluate your claim.
If your insurance company is delaying your claim or asking for unreasonable amounts of evidence, you may need to contact an attorney.
You can also speak to one of our lawyers if your claim has been unfairly denied.
At Anderson Traylor Edwards, we have more than 50 years of combined experience and we are not afraid to go up against insurance companies. We are available 24/7 to fight for your rights.
Call us at (985) 244-3070 or contact us online today for assistance with uninsured motorist claims or other issues with your insurance company.