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What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Why You Need It

When you get in a car, motorcycle or any automobile accident one of the first matters you pay attention to is the insurance information from the other party.  Who is their carrier and how much is their coverage.  There are two types of coverage in your uninsured motorist coverage, both of which are very important to you.

The first type of protection is when the other driver has no insurance.  It is not unusual for the other driver to lie about having coverage.  Sometimes they never had it and sometimes it has lapsed and their proof of insurance card is no longer valid.  When this happens you will have no insurance carrier to pay your medical bills, wage loss, property damage or general damages.  This is a terrible situation.

The only way to protect yourself from this scenario is to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.  This coverage kicks in when it is determined that the other driver has no insurance.  Let’s assume you have $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage and the other driver has no insurance.  Your own carrier will act as if it insures the other driver for up to $100,000.  Making an uninsured motorist claim on your own policy does not raise your insurance rates, even if your carrier pays the entire $100,000.

Another situation which is very common is when the other driver does not have enough insurance.  For example, the other driver has insurance limits of $15,000 and your case is worth $150,000.  If you have an uninsured motorist policy with limits of $100,000 you would collect $15,000 from the other driver’s carrier and then collect $85,000 from your own carrier.  Your policy would allow you to collect a total of $100,000 even though the liable driver only has $15,000 in coverage.  Underinsured motorist coverage is included automatically in every uninsured motorist policy in California.  Making an uninsured motorist claim on your own policy does not raise your insurance rates.

Too many people do not get any, or enough, uninsured motorist coverage.  Once they are in an auto accident this decision comes back to haunt them.   If you would like to sit down and have someone explain what is in your insurance policy and what other coverage you should look for call an experienced auto accident attorney in Sacramento at Carter Wolden Curtis at 916-567-1111 or email at

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