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WV Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Are You and Your Family Protected?

Insurance options to protect against WV Car Accidents

Do you feel secure because you have car insurance coverage for you and your family?  Your security may be unfounded if you don’t have or don’t have enough uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).

Your general liability auto insurance coverage may protect others if they’re injured in a car accident involving you or you car.  General liability coverage may also help protect your money and other assets in the event your sued.  However, that type of coverage won’t compensate you and your family if you’re injured in an automobile accident caused by another driver.

To adequately protect you and your family from another driver’s negligence or other wrongdoing, you’ll need uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The purpose of this article is to help you determine how to adequately protect yourself with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

It is important to note that in the state of West Virginia uninsured motorist coverage is required.  However, the required policy limit is only $20,000, which often doesn’t even cover the cost of medical bills incurred by those involved serious West Virginia car accidents.  Underinsured motorist coverage is not required by West Virginia law but is just as important to you and your family’s safety as uninsured motorist coverage.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

An uninsured driver is someone who at the time of their automobile accident either did not have any valid car insurance, had car insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose auto insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it.  A hit-and-run driver also counts as uninsured as it relates to West Virginia personal injury claims.  In hit and run accidents where there is evidence that the accident was caused by another driver who fled the accident scene, Uninsured Motorist coverage should pay for your damages including medical bills, pain, suffering and lost wages.

An underinsured driver is someone who met minimum legal financial responsibility requirements, but did not have payment limits high enough to cover the damage they caused. This pays you for damages that exceed the payment limits carried by a driver who is considered underinsured.  UIM will only pay up to the limits of your policy after subtracting the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance.  The amount listed as your UIM limit is the total amount paid by both insurance compaines, not the additional amount your company will pay after the other driver’s company pays.

Both UM and UIM apply to you, passengers in your car, drivers of your car, and to others listed on your insurance policy.  It is important to note that UM and UIM are seperate in regards to West Virginia.

Why do you need UM/UIM coverage?

If you get into an accident with someone who is driving without insurance, it will be tough to be made financially and physically whole again with only $20,000 in state mandatory UM coverage.  Medical bills associated with serious automobile accidents often exceed $20,000, which would leave you nothing to compensate you for missed work and lost wages.  If you suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of an uninsured driver, $20,000 would do very little to help you and your family.
It is usually relatively cheap to add UM/UIM to your car insurance policy, especially considering the amount of protection it offers: paying your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

I will continue this discussion with “sub-groups” of UM and UIM that address bodily injury and property damage next week.  I will also share some examples to illustrate just how important uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is.  Feel free to contact a West Virginia personal injury lawyer at West Law Firm, LC, for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-WEST(9378).

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