Being in an auto accident can be an unfortunate, unpleasant circumstance… or, a horrible, extremely painful occurrence. On top of dealing with pain and injuries, not to mention damage to your vehicle, you may also have to deal with another highly unfortunate and difficult situation…and that is, dealing with an uninsured motorist. This can mean that you do not receive the financial compensation you need and deserve. And this is why the personal injury attorneys at the Burton Law Firm of Oklahoma City encourage you to read this article, and recommend that you obtain uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
If you drive an automobile in the state of Oklahoma, you are required by the Oklahoma Compulsory Insurance Law to have liability coverage, and this goes for all types of motor vehicles. But note that liability insurance is for the other party when the accident was your fault. So you fail to stop properly at a red light and you clip another car. Your auto insurance liability policy will pay for the physical injuries to the other party, and if applicable, for property damages caused by the accident.
Oklahoma’s auto insurance law requires you to carry a minimum of at least $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury (or death) in a single accident and $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons. You also must have a $25,000 minimum coverage for property damage in any single accident. But you can choose to pay for HIGHER limit amounts and this is strongly encouraged because COSTS for medical bills and property damage often exceed the lower minimums that the state requires.
Right now, on the roads of Oklahoma, are drivers whose auto insurance policy has lapsed because they did not pay it when it came due for renewal. Or they moved here from another state and have not registered or insured their vehicle. These people are driving around uninsured and could cause an accident at any time, with any innocent driver.
If you are in an automobile accident with one of these people who does not have liability insurance, how do you think your injuries or property damages will be paid for? Well, they won’t be, unless you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. So you’re now asking, “What is underinsured motorist coverage?”
Well even if the other party at fault does have liability insurance, your costs and expenses could be greater than the amount of coverage that they have and now there is no way to pursue getting compensated for your medical expenses, missed work, etc. But if you had uninsured and UNDERINSURED motorist coverage on your own auto policy, you’d be able to pursue your claim for the higher amount – the amount you need and deserve.
So you see now how essential it is that you add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your auto policy. A very good thing about this coverage is that it is portable – and so it covers you regardless of where you are when you are injured (or when your vehicle is damaged by another person). Even if you are in another state, your UM/UIM coverage applies. Note that the amount of this coverage matches the amount of liability coverage that you have — so your UM limit cannot exceed your single person liability coverage ($25,000 if you are carrying the legal minimum).
IMPORTANT TIP: Did you know that if you are in a auto accident and the other party cannot produce proof of insurance, you can report this to the police officer on scene and can have the other person’s vehicle impounded? In many cases the uninsured driver will be fined and may need to appear before a judge. But it is just as frequent if not more so that people are involved in auto accidents in which they receive moderate to severe injuries, and the other party IS insured, but the coverage amounts are TOO LOW to fully compensate the faultless driver.
Oklahoma is one of the highest ranking states in the U.S.A. for the number of uninsured drivers in the state. It is important for you to protect yourself and your family by spending the extra amount on UM coverage. Be sure you fully understand how all aspects of your auto insurance policy work. After a car, truck, scooter or motorcycle accident, it is always wise to obtain professional legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.