Getting into a car accident can be hectic and dealing with insurance companies can be an
added stress- especially when the other party involved in the accident is not fully insured or
insured at all. What should I do? Who do I contact? How do I get my damages covered? Luckily,
insurance companies offer UIM/UM coverage to protect you in such cases.
If these benefits are not already included in your insurance plan, they can be a relatively
inexpensive add-on to your policy. Underinsured motor coverage is an important aspect of any
insurance policy as it protects you in cases where the at-fault driver doesn't have enough
insurance to compensate for your damages. For example, say you get into a car accident and the
driver that hit you is found to be at fault. As a result of the accident, you accrue $20,000 in
damages (lost wages, medical bills, car damage, etc) but their minimum liability policy is only
$15,000. The at-fault driver would then be considered underinsured and your next step would be
to make a UIM/UM benefit claim against your own insurance. It is important to note that this
only applies if you have UIM/UM coverage in your insurance policy.
Once a claim is filed against your insurance, they will require proof that the offending
driver was un/underinsured at the time of the accident. Once proof is provided, they will contact
the at-fault drivers insurance for payment and the underinsured coverage will satisfy up to the
limit of your policy. It is also important to note that you cannot request more than the costs you
accrued as a direct result of the accident.
UIM coverage differs from UM (uninsured motorist) coverage in the UM benefits will
compensate you when the at-fault driver has no insurance at all. However, whichever claim you
make, it is important to do so within the allotted time frame oset forth by your state’s laws. In the
state of Arizona, you have up to 3 years after the accident to formally notify your insurance
company in writing that you intend to pursue a UIM/UM claim.
However, what is required differs between the two separate claims. For UIM claims,it is
required that you make the claim in writing against your insurance within 3 years of the date the
claim was made against the offending drivers insurance or within 3 years of the date you knew
the offending driver to be underinsured. For UM claims, it is required you provide the claim in
writing 3 years after the date you knew the other driver to be uninsured and the date you knew
your cto be have been denied by the offending drivers insurance.
There may be additional rules and exceptions and it is important to contact an attorney to
help you with your claim and find the best legal avenue for your case. Additionally, your insurer
is not guaranteed to cover your claim even though you may have UIM/UM coverage. Do not
hesitate to reach out for a free case consultation at 602-780-1302 or email us at
DISCLAIMER: The Leon Law, PLLC blog is intended for general information purposes only
and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal
practices and vary by location.