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California Requires Insurance Carriers to Offer UM / UIM Coverage

by | Jun 26, 2016 | Firm News |

In some cases, an attorney may have to go an extra step in securing valid coverage for an accident. Like in life, not every person driving a vehicle is a perfect driver. Some may not have a valid driver’s license. Some may not have liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility.  Even though California requires liability insurance with limits of a minimum: $15,000, some drivers disregard the law.

An accident that involves an uninsured driver will result in: (1) a license suspension for the uninsured driver; and (2) trigger coverage for the other driver pursuant to the uninsured motorist provision in the insured’s own insurance policy.

Bad news is sometimes given to clients when it is confirmed that they waived their uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage. Thus, they are left with the sole option of pursuing damages from the uninsured driver directly, which typically means that they are left with no justice (most often, uninsured drivers have no recoverable assets and the costs of seeking a judgment outweigh any benefits).

But, a good attorney will go the extra mile. They will not take the insurance carrier’s word without proper evidence. Trust, but verify.

California Insurance Code section 11580.2 subsection (a)(1) obligates the insurance carrier to offer uninsured motorist coverage. It also requires a written waiver of the insured when they do not want the coverage. An attorney must always request the written waiver when the carrier states that there is no UM coverage.

If the carrier cannot provide the written waiver with the client’s signature, pursuant to subsection (p)(7), uninsured motorist coverage will exist for the insured. It enables the insured to recover a settlement to pay for medical bills and pain and suffering.

If you, or someone you know, has been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, contact an experienced attorney. He or she may be able to obtain UM coverage despite an insurance carrier’s assertions that no UM coverage applies.