The costs for automobile insurance in the State of Michigan are among the highest in the country. With that in mind, when choosing an auto policy, you may be tempted to decline additional coverage to keep the rate as low as possible. However, uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist benefits are two options that you might want to reconsider skipping over.
The Michigan No-Fault Act permits a person injured in an auto accident due to another motorist’s negligence to recover monetary damages from the at-fault motorist provided that certain requirements are met. Typically, the at-fault driver’s no-fault insurer would represent the at-fault driver and any damages paid to the injured party would come from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But, what happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance? You could still pursue the at-fault driver personally but often times, that person cannot be located (such as in a hit and run accident) or does not have the resources to pay a judgment. This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes in. If you have chosen to include this coverage in your auto policy, you could recover the damages that would have been paid by the at-fault driver from your own insurance company.
Similarly, underinsured motorist benefits provide coverage when the at-fault driver’s own liability limits are less than yours. When seeking damages from the at-fault party through their insurer, an injured person can only recover the policy limit of the at-fault driver. But if your own policy has higher limits than the at-fault driver, you could recover the at-fault driver’s total policy and then seek additional damages from your own insurer through your underinsured coverage. For example, say you were in an auto accident caused by another driver whose liability limit was $20,000.00, which is the minimum permitted by the No-Fault Act but your own liability limit was $60,000.00. If you had underinsured coverage, you could collect the entire $20,000.00 from the at-fault driver’s policy and then seek an additional $40,000.00 in damages from your own insurer.
Michigan does not require drivers to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage so it is an additional expense on top of your no-fault policy. However, the rates are typically very reasonable and well worth the few extra dollars. In addition, because the coverage is not mandated by law, uninsured and underinsured motorist policies can differ in their requirements depending on the insurer and the circumstances. Failing to comply with the terms of your policy can leave you vulnerable and forfeit your right to potential benefits. That’s why it is crucial to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable no-fault attorney.
If you’ve been injured in a collision and believe you may have an uninsured or underinsured claim contact the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz. Our attorneys have extensive experience in uninsured and underinsured motorist claims and will help you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to. 248-557-3645