What is UM and Why Do I Need This Insurance?

Louisiana law requires that all persons who operate a motor vehicle in this state must carry automobile insurance with policy limits of at least $15,000.  This is called liability insurance.  That means if you are injured in an auto accident due to the fault of another, their insurance will compensate you (or in legal language, be liable, which is why it is call liability insurance) for your damages and injuries up to the limit of $15,000.

  •  What happens if the person who caused the accident and your injuries does not have insurance?  They would be considered uninsured (they have no insurance).   
  • What happens if you sustain damages and injuries that are more than $15,000 and the person who caused the accident only has $15,000 worth of coverage?   In that instance, the person who hit you does not have enough insurance coverage to pay you for all of your damages.  In other words, they are underinsured.

 The object of UM coverage is to provide full recovery for automobile accident victims who suffer damages caused by a person who is not insured (uninsured) or who is not covered by adequate liability insurance.(underinsured).

 Fortunately, Louisiana passed a law (La. R.S. 22:1406(D)), that requires that UM coverage must be provided in an amount equal to the liability limits of the policy in every automobile insurance policy issued in this State.  In other words, if you buy the legally required liability insurance, you automatically have UM coverage, UNLESS you sign a valid waiver (called a UM waiver) specifically rejecting UM coverage.

 Many insurance agents will attempt to convince you to sign a UM waiver.  They often tell you that your insurance policy will cost you less if you sign this waiver.  DO NOT SIGN THE WAIVER.  Even if you can save a couple of dollars (and it usually is not that much of a savings), keeping your UM is the ONLY way to protect yourself if you are injured by someone who either does not have any insurance (uninsured) or does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages and injuries (underinsured).

 We recommend to our clients that they should carry liability insurance limits at a very high amount.  Remember, since the UM amounts must equal the liability limits, the more liability insurance you have, the more UM you have.  In fact, if you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for your house or apartment, you can purchase what is called an Umbrella policy which can provide you with even more coverage.

 An umbrella policy provides more coverage above and beyond the limits of your basic policies.  Umbrella policies, like the name implies, provides for additional or excess coverage over your homeowners AND automobile policies.  Most umbrella policies provide $1 million of additional coverage.  Surprisingly, umbrella insurance is very cheap, usually costing less than $300.00 per year. 

 If you purchase an umbrella policy, be sure to tell the agent that you want the umbrella to cover the UM portion of your auto policy.  Thus, if you get seriously injured in an auto accident due to the fault of another and you can never work again, and that person has little or no insurance, your UM insurance AND your umbrella will compensate you for all of your injuries.

 There are a couple of instance in which your UM coverage will not apply.  It does not apply to damage caused when there is no physical contact between your vehicle and the vehicle which is at fault and has no insurance  UNLESS you have witnesses who testify that your damages were caused by the actions of the driver of another vehicle who is not known or who is uninsured.   For instance, if you are run off the road by a vehicle who does not actually hit your vehicle, you cannot recover unless you have witnesses who can testify on your behalf.  UM also does not cover you if you are at fault in the accident.

 Uninsured Motorist insurance covers you even if you are riding in someone else’s car and you get injured by the driver of another vehicle who is at fault. In fact, if the car in which you are riding has uninsured motorist coverage, you are allowed to collect first against that policy and if that is not enough money, then to add or “stack” your own policy on top to collect more money for your damages.  This usually occurs when you are riding in someone else’s car and sustain serious injuries.

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3850 N. Causeway Blvd.
Metairie, Louisiana 70001
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The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and not to be taken as legal advice. If you are in need of any advice or have any questions, please contact us and we would be happy to help. If you need immediate medical attention please call 911 or your doctor.

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