Uninsured Motorist coverage is insurance coverage for those instances of property damage or bodily injury when you are hit by a driver who has no insurance, does not have enough insurance, or you have a phantom driver who has hit your vehicle and run. A lot of people want this type of insurance coverage to be mandatory, and in some states it is. All automobile insurance policies sold in the State of Maryland are required to have uninsured motorist benefits coverage in the same amount as liability coverage unless the consumer properly waives this requirement. (See Section 19-509 (e)(2)). The waivers must be done in the manner set forth in Section 19-501 of the Insurance Article of the Maryland Code.
A Uninsured Motorist policy covers you, your passengers, and anybody else you permit to drive your car against property damage and bodily injury. Property damage coverage includes money for repairs, a total loss, any rental cars, and personal item damaged in the car. Bodily injury coverage can cover things such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent or partial disability, and funeral expenses.
In a hit and run incident, it is your responsibility to report the accident immediately. In this situation, your insurer will play the role of devil’s advocate and decide if the accident was your fault. This means it can refuse to pay if it decides you, and not other driver was to blame for the damages. Uninsured Motorist Carriers have a duty to act in good faith, but many would say that Maryland Insurance Companies do not meet this requirement. If a Maryland uninsured motorist carrier does not act in good faith, a first party bad faith claim can be filed against the uninsured motorist carrier with the Maryland Insurance Administration.
Some of your other insurance may overlap with Uninsured Motorist coverage, such as health insurance, which may persuade you to waive Uninsured Motorist coverage. However, there are a several situations where health insurance won’t help and Uninsured Motorist will. For example, if a non-family member riding in or driving your car is injured, Uninsured Motorist coverage can pay for some of the damages. Other expenses and concerns that may arise such as lost wages, remodeling a home or van to make it wheelchair-accessible, payment for someone to do yard work, housework, or other things around the home if you can’t anymore, possible home-health aid are all things that could be covered by Uninsured Motorist insurance, but not by health care coverage. Although you should be mindful of what you finances can handle when picking your Uninsured Motorist coverage, it is wise to purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can reasonably afford. This coverage will protect you and your family in the event you are injured by an uninsured motorist in an accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) carried by many drivers will also pay for medical and funeral expenses arising from accidents in your car. You cannot collect from both PIP and Uninsured Motorist coverages for the same expenses however. It is important to note that PIP coverage is, in general, less than that of Uninsured Motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist claims can be very complicated. A Maryland Attorney can assist you in handling the situation to maximize your recovery. Fred Antenberg has represented clients throughout Maryland who have been in car accidents involving Uninsured Motorists. CONTACT our office for your FREE consultation and Fred will can help you through your current accident, or make sure you are prepared for possible future accidents.