If you get into an accident that someone else caused, the other driver is liable for your damages. If that driver does not have car insurance, the chances of recovering compensation directly from them are small. If you carry uninsured motorist insurance on your own auto policy, however, that coverage can help with your medical bills and car repairs.
Alabama’s insurance laws require all drivers to carry liability insurance. Nevertheless, thousands of uninsured drivers take to the streets every day. If you sustain injuries in a collision you didn’t cause, an Alabama car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need.
The Fob James Law Firm provides aggressive legal representation to injury accident victims. We deal with the insurance companies and handle the complex negotiations to get the maximum possible compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
The uninsured motorist insurance definition comes as no surprise. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is an add-on component to a standard auto insurance policy. UM provides coverage when the policyholder has an accident with a motorist who does not have insurance.
Similar to UM coverage, you can also purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This coverage helps you if the at-fault driver did not carry sufficient insurance to pay for your damages. Insurance companies often offer these two coverages together.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
Typically, UM pays for your injury treatment and that of your passengers, if applicable. Depending on your policy, UM may also pay for property damage if the other driver was at fault.
When purchasing car insurance, make sure to ask the agent or carrier specifically what your policy covers. If your car is badly damaged or totaled in an accident with an uninsured driver, you want to make sure you have the necessary coverage. Otherwise, you won’t have any financial assistance to repair or replace the vehicle.
Do the Alabama Insurance Laws Require Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Alabama’s Mandatory Liability Insurance Law requires motorists to carry liability insurance. Minimum coverage limits are $25,000 bodily injury (per person), $50,000 bodily injury (aggregate), and $25,000 in personal property coverage. Alabama law also requires UM and UIM coverage to be offered by the insurance company in all auto policies written in the state, with coverage limits to match the liability minimum requirements.
However, the law goes on to allow motorists to decline UM/UIM coverage without penalty. So, while Alabama law requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to be offered, it also does not require you to carry this type of insurance. In order for the insurance carrier to not include UM/UIM coverage as part of its insured’s policy, the insurance carrier must get a signed rejection from its insured.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Worth It?
According to the Insurance Research Council, as many as one in eight U.S. drivers are uninsured. Although Alabama requires motorists to carry liability insurance, your chances of getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist are significant. If you don’t carry UM coverage, you may not have any way to pay for your medical treatment. If your injuries prevent you from working, you won’t have the ability to pay your bills and living expenses.
Underinsured motorist insurance is also important. Even if the other driver has insurance, it might not be enough to cover your damages. At $25,000, Alabama’s minimum liability requirements are very low. Should you require extensive medical treatment, your bills will quickly exceed that sum.
Fortunately, UM/UIM coverage is affordable. According to a review of some insurance websites, the average cost of uninsured motorist insurance is much lower than the cost of liability insurance. For $100,000 of coverage, the average cost ranges from $86 to $134 per year. Even better, the average cost of car insurance in Alabama is almost 5% lower than the national average. Your rates will vary depending on your age, driving record, and other factors. However, the affordability of UM coverage makes it worthwhile for everyone to carry.
What If the Insurance Company Denies Your Uninsured Motorist Claim?
Sometimes, even your own insurance company could deny your claim. In other cases, the insurer might agree to pay only a fraction of your claim’s actual value. If that happens, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.
In most car accident injury claims, you pursue compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies regularly try to minimize their financial liability. They attempt to deny valid claims or reduce their value in any way possible. For this reason, car accident attorneys discourage speaking to the insurance company or providing any statement.
If you must submit a claim through your own uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, you could encounter some of the same challenges. Even though you are the insured, insurance companies still look for ways to deny or minimize claims.
After any type of motor vehicle collision, consider consulting an attorney as soon as possible. In a situation where the at-fault party might be uninsured, talking to a lawyer can be even more important. Your attorney can investigate the accident and explore the details of the at-fault party to determine what your options might be for recovering compensation. If you do have to file a claim with your insurance company, your attorney can help make certain that the insurer upholds its obligations to you under your policy.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Alabama Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, you need someone on your side. The experienced attorneys of the Fob James Law Firm will fight tirelessly to get you the justice and fair financial compensation you deserve. Our attentive and highly personalized level of service gets results, as you can see from our past settlements and awards. Although our past case results might not reflect the outcome of your case, you can rest assured that we will do what it takes to get the best possible results for you.
We assist clients in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. Call or contact us now to schedule a free consultation or to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers regarding the Alabama uninsured motorist laws.