How Important is UM/UIM Motorist Coverage?

In North Carolina, uninsured motorist coverage is a required part of all car insurance policies issued throughout the state. Underinsured motorist coverage, although not required, is a discretionary addition that provides coverage if you are involved in a car accident with a driver whose policy limits are lower than your damages. When you’re involved in an Outer Banks car accident, you rightfully expect the negligent driver to at least have enough coverage to compensate you for your damages. In the event that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, UM/UIM coverage can help.  

Knowing the difference between these coverages and when they come into play is an important part of keeping yourself and your family safe. If you have been injured in a car accident and have questions regarding if and how UM/UIM coverage applies to your situation, contact the experienced Outer Banks car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation.

What Are North Carolina’s Auto Insurance Requirements? 

State law requires any vehicle registered within the state to carry a minimum liability insurance to cover any damages they cause to other drivers in an accident. In North Carolina, the minimum limits are:

  • Bodily injury per person: $30,000 
  • Bodily injury per accident: $60,000 
  • Property damage per accident: $25,000  

Along with the liability limits, drivers are also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage with the same minimums. This means that if you are involved in a crash with a driver who is uninsured, your insurance carrier will cover your damage up to the limits of your policy. 

Although underinsured motorist coverage is not compulsory in North Carolina, a UIM policy is a smart way to protect yourself if you are ever involved in a collision with a driver who does not have adequate insurance to cover your damages.

Are Uninsured Drivers Common in North Carolina?

Data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute shows that 10.3% of North Carolina drivers are uninsured. That’s almost 783,000 people traveling up and down the state’s highways and roadways without any insurance to speak of. Even if you are responsible and conscientious, you cannot control the actions of another driver. Having UM/UIM coverage can give you financial protection and peace of mind should you be involved in a traffic collision with an underinsured or uninsured driver.

Who Is Covered Under My UM/UIM Policy?

Your UM/UIM policy usually covers:

  • You, the policyholder
  • Your spouse, if they live with you
  • Other relatives who live with you
  • Any passengers in your car when the incident occurred
  • Anyone who borrows your car with permission

It is important to understand that UM/UIM coverage follows the policyholder, not their vehicle. So, if you are injured in an accident as a pedestrian or a passenger, your UM/UIM coverage could still apply.

Will My UM/UIM Coverage Help After a Hit-and-Run?

Yes, it will. If the at-fault driver flees the scene of your Outer Banks car accident, your uninsured motorist policy can help cover your damages. Under these circumstances, your insurer will step into the role of the other driver’s insurance company if they cannot be located or identified.  

To apply your UM coverage to a hit-and-run accident, you must promptly report the incident to both your insurance company and local law enforcement. You will also need to furnish proof that the other driver was negligent and that reasonable efforts have been made to locate them.

All We Do Is Injury Law

If you were injured in an Outer Banks car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is vital that you understand your rights and legal options for pursuing financial compensation. The experienced Outer Banks car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you navigate the claims process and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. In one recent case, we won a $150,000 jury verdict for a client after the insurance company refused to compensate him fairly for a pre-existing condition that was significantly worsened in his accident. Our personal injury law firm has been serving clients throughout Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills since 1985. We know the serious financial, emotional, and physical impacts a major car accident can have on your life. To schedule a free consultation, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our online contact form.