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1) What does UM/UIM mean?
UM (uninsured motorist) and UIM (underinsured motorist) is part of the same bodily injury coverage on an automobile insurance policy.
The coverage applies only when the at-fault driver is uninsured, or does not have any insurance.
Alternatively, it also applies when the at-fault driver lacks enough insurance to cover all of your bodily injuries, which is considered an underinsured motorist.
2) Is UM/UIM coverage required in Georgia?
Generally, Georgia law does not require UM/UIM insurance coverage on automobile policies.
However, insurance companies are required to offer UM/UIM coverage equal to the liability insurance coverage.
The policyholder can elect, in writing, to take a reduced UM/UIM coverage or to carry no UM/UIM coverage on the insurance policy at all. This is usually done to reduce premium costs.
3) When must I notify my insurer to be eligible for UM/UIM benefits?
In order to be eligible for UM/UIM coverage, you should report the incident to you insurance carrier as soon as possible.
The specific reporting requirements are dictated by the terms of your insurance contract.
Regardless of the specific requirements, if you fail to report the car accident in a timely manner could prevent you from being eligible for UM/UIM coverage. The best practice is to report the collision as soon as possible so you don't give your insurance carrier a reason to deny coverage.
4) Do I have to provide my insurance carrier a recorded statement in order to obtain UM/UIM coverage benefits?
In short, yes. That's because you have an insurance contract with your insurance carrier.
Part and parcel with that contract is a duty to cooperate with your insurance carrier's reasonable requests, including providing a recorded statement.
5) Who is covered by my UM/UIM policy?
UM/UIM coverage on insurance policies provides to
the named insured;
any resident relative who lives with the insured;
anyone driving the vehicle with the insured's permission; and
any passengers in the vehicle.
Conversely, if you are a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a motor vehicle collision, you have several avenues for UM/UIM coverage including under the policy of the covered vehicle, your own insurance policies (or policy in which you are a named insured), or the insurance policies of any resident relatives.
6) Will UM/UIM cover me if I didn’t own the vehicle?
Even if you did not own the vehicle, the UM/UIM coverage for that vehicle (if any) will also cover you if
you were driving the vehicle with the owner's permission; or
you were a passenger in the vehicle.
7) What does UM/UIM cover?
UIM covers all compensatory damages that you may have suffered due to a car accident.
This includes items of damages like:
medical expenses (past and future);
lost wages (past and future);
pain and suffering.
UM/UIM coverage does not cover punitive damages.
8) Does UIM cover pain and suffering?
9) What is “Add On” UIM insurance coverage?
Under this coverage, your underinsured, or UIM, coverage supplements the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
In other words, when the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover your claim, your UIM insurance will “add on” to the value covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance.
For instance, assume that your UIM insurance coverage is $50,000 and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is $25,000. After the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is exhausted, you will be entitled to the full $50,000 of your UIM insurance coverage. That’s because the UIM insurance was “add-on” and supplements the $25,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
10) What is “Set Off” UIM insurance?
An UIM insurance policy is “set off” means that it is discounted, or decreased, by any amounts paid by any other liability insurance.
For instance, assume that your UIM insurance coverage is $50,000 and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is $25,000. After the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is exhausted, you will only be entitled to an additional $25,000 of your UIM insurance coverage. That’s because the UIM insurance was “set off” by the first $25,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
11) What happens if I am eligible under several UM/UIM policies?
If you are eligible for UM/UIM coverage under several insurance policies, each of these policies "stack" in the same way as add-on insurance coverage.
There is no reduction, or set-off, against other UM/UIM policies.
For instance, assume again that your UIM insurance coverage on one policy is $50,000 and on another policy is $25,000, for a total of UIM coverage of $75,000. Both UIM policies are considered set-off. Now assume the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is only $25,000. After the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is exhausted, you will only be entitled to an additional $50,000 of your UIM insurance coverage. That’s because the UIM insurance was “set off” by the first $25,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, there is still $50,000 of UIM coverage available.
12) When there are multiple UIM policies, which one pays first?
When there are multiple UIM policies available, the duty to pay first usually applies to the UIM policy under which you actually pay the premiums.
This is the "receipt of premium test."
So, if you paid the premium, that insurance policy is primarily responsible for paying UIM benefits first.
13) How does set-off UIM insurance work if several UIM policies with set-off provisions apply?
If you are eligible for UIM coverage under several UIM policies, but all have set-off provisions, the last UM policy responsible to pay gets the benefit of the off-set.
Stated another way, the policy that pays first - the primary UIM policy - does not get the benefit of the set-off.
14) Can I stack UIM coverage from one insurance policy that covers several cars?
No, you cannot stack UIM coverage under one policy, even if that policy applies to multiple vehicles.
It is common to put multiple vehicles under a single policy of insurance, and with a single policy number. This helps reduce costs. But, this arrangement does not permit you to claim multiple and separate insurance policies for each vehicle.
In short, it does not matter how many vehicles you have. It matters how many policies you have.
15) What happens when two at-fault drivers cause the collision?
The UM/UIM coverage technically kicks in to "cover" the at-fault driver who does not have any insurance (uninsured driver), over the second driver who may not have enough liability insurance (underinsured driver).
So, there is no right to set-off of UM coverage even if the UIM policy has a setoff provision.
16) What happens when there is only one UM/UIM policy for multiple people?
The UM/UIM insurance carrier is not obligated to pay multiple claimants in any specific order.
If multiple people are claiming benefits under a single UM/UIM coverage policy, the insurance carrier can pay whomever it chooses.
In these scenarios, it's best to try and enter an agreement with the other claimants to divide the UM/UIM policy by an agreed-upon amount. This is not always possible.
17) How does medical payments coverage affect my UM/UIM coverage on my policy?
Any payments made under a medical payments policy offsets the available UM/UIM coverage available.
This is so even if the UIM coverage is an "add on" policy.
For instance, let's say you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and your case is worth $35,000. And, the at-fault driver has the bare minimum liability insurance coverage of $25,000. Finally, let's also assume you have $25,000 in available UIM as well as $5,000 in available medical payments coverage. The $5k from medical payments would go to pay for outstanding medical bills, thereby "offsetting" or reducing the total available UIM coverage obligation to only $5,000 - or the amount to pay the full $35,000. These numbers are broken down below:
$35,000 - total damages
($25,000) - total liability limits of at-fault driver
($5,000) - total medical payment coverage benefits
($5,000) - total UIM payment obligations
18) Can my UM/UIM coverage be offset by workers compensation payments?
Yes, just like medical payments coverage, your UM/UIM coverage obligation can be offset by any money disbursed by workers compensation insurance for the collision.
So, if you were "in the scope of employment" at the time of the collision, and you collected workers compensation payments for medical expenses and/or lost wages, your UM/UIM coverage obligation would be "offset" by these payments.
19) Can an excluded driver on my policy still be eligible for UM/UIM coverage under the same policy?
Yes, an excluded driver on your policy can still be eligible for UM/UIM coverage under the same policy.
In order to exclude that person from UM/UIM coverage, the insurance carrier would need a separate written UM/UIM rejection for the identified excluded driver in order to withhold UM/UIM coverage.
20) What are the requirements for UM coverage when I'm involved in a hit and run?
In a hit-and-run the at-fault driver is unidentified and deemed "uninsured" under the law.
However, in order for UM coverage to become obligated to pay, there must be "physical contact" with the at-fault's vehicle.
Alternatively, if there is no physical contact, there must be a corroborating witness who can describe of the occurrence took place.
These rules are meant to protect against fraudulent claims.