Under Louisiana’s laws, motorists must carry liability insurance coverage on any motor vehicle that they own. This insurance is to be used to cover property damages and personal injuries that the motorist may be legally responsible for if they are involved in an automobile accident.
In theory, this may seem like an ideal solution to an unfortunate situation. However, this is not always how these crashes play out. Especially since far too many individuals in Louisiana ignore these laws and drive without insurance. This can mean bad news for those harmed in a motor vehicle collision, who end up suffering catastrophic injuries and astronomical medical expenses.
Even though these situations may seem unbearable, there are actions you can take that will make sure you are protected in these devastating ordeals. That is why in this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about underinsured/ uninsured motorist coverage and why you must purchase it when buying your liability insurance.
Liability insurance protects against claims resulting from damages and injuries to property or people. Or in other words, if you are at fault for a motor vehicle accident and someone sues you for personal injuries resulting from the crash. Your motor vehicle liability insurance will cover the damages you end up owing.
However, your insurance company will only cover damages up to your liability limits, which are dictated by the policy’s terms. In Louisiana, this means that most drivers will have liability insurance that will cover at least $15,000 per injured person and $30,000 per accident.
Underinsured/uninsured coverage helps pay for your expenses if you are ever involved in an accident with an underinsured driver. In the United States, when you sign up for motor vehicle insurance, you typically have the option of purchasing underinsured/uninsured motorist insurance in addition to your liability coverage.
However, in Louisiana, these laws slightly differ. Although the state does not require drivers to have underinsured/ uninsured motorist coverage, they do insist that their insurance companies include this coverage in their insurance packages unless an individual explicitly rejects this type of coverage in writing. Yet, even though declining this underinsured/ uninsured insurance coverage can make your policy slightly cheaper, it can also put you at severe financial risk if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident.
In general, underinsured/ uninsured coverage will often step in to cover individuals involved in an automobile collision when the at-fault motorist is not insured or does not have enough insurance to cover their damages. It can also be used if a motorist is involved in a hit-and-run accident and suffers property damage. But there are no independent witnesses that can substantiate their claims.
Even though most motorists may have heard of underinsured/uninsured insurance coverage, many do not actually understand how this extra coverage works or why they may need it. To help simplify how this insurance operates, let us take a look at the following example. Imagine that a negligent motorist hurts you. However, when you seek financial recourse for your injuries, it turns out that the motorist is uninsured. Yet, instead of having to endure the extensive bills that result from this accident and your injuries. You can file a claim against your own underinsured/ uninsured insurance coverage on your policy. What ends up happening is this coverage essentially takes the place of the liability coverage that the at-fault driver failed to carry.
In Louisiana, this underinsured/ uninsured coverage is quite significant as almost 13% of Louisiana drivers do not have any form of valid car insurance. Plus, a large percentage of those who do carry insurance only have the bare minimum policy requirements. As a result, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there is a high chance that the at-fault driver will not be able to fully cover the full extent of your damages.
Even though this underinsured/ uninsured coverage is extremely beneficial, saving victims thousands of dollars if they are ever involved in a car accident. Many people do not end up purchasing it because of a common misconception that if they file an underinsured/ uninsured claim, their insurance premiums will increase, or they believe that their insurance will drop them. However, this is just not true.
Under Louisiana laws, it is illegal for an insurance company to raise your rate or drop you if you file an uninsured motorist claim. In truth, the only way the insurance company can penalize you is if you are involved in an accident, and you are at-fault for the crash. That is why if you are paying a premium every month for underinsured/ uninsured coverage, you should not hesitate to use it when you need it.
If it turns out that the insurance company did raise your rates or drop you after you made an underinsured/ uninsured claim, the insurance company can be held liable for not only your premium refund and damages but for your attorney fees as well.
One of the most common mistakes victims make following a car accident is they believe that the insurance company will want to help them and get them the monetary relief they need. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. You need to remember that the insurance company is a business, and like other businesses, they want to make a profit.
Even though you may pay premiums for your coverage, their goal is still to minimize your payout in order to maximize their profits. As a result, an insurance adjuster will try any tactic they can to lower the amount of money you receive or to deny your claim altogether. That is why it is vital that when you have to deal with the insurance company that you have someone on your side advocating for your interests and helping you fight for maximum compensation.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Contact the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC, today or call our office at (504) 294-3910, and let our lawyers fight for your rights and the justice you deserve.