In a high speed chase with the cops, a maniac driver flees from his pursuers and randomly strikes other cars and people in his path. It sounds like the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, except that it happens in real life. In fact, this happened in the Denver metro area earlier this month. Aside from the emotional toll caused by this driver's senseless act, the victims of this high speed chase are left to wonder who is going to pay for their injuries and damaged vehicles.
The first rule to remember is that when a car gets stolen, the auto insurance on that car is not responsible for the damages caused by the criminal acts of the car thief. The law treats the stolen car like an uninsured vehicle. The owner of the stolen car can seek the repair or replacement of that vehicle from his or her own auto insurance company. As to anyone who claims property damage or physical injury from the car thief's crime spree, the law requires that these victims look to their own car insurance for compensation (uninsured motorist or collision coverage).
1) COMPREHENSIVE COLLISION COVERAGE:
Collision coverage provides a guarantee that if you or someone else damages your car, your insurance company will pick up the tab. Collision coverage provides premium property damage protection. If you hit a deer, if some jerk in a parking lot dents your door, or if an out of control maniac running from the police hits your car, your collision coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle.
2) UNINSURED MOTORIST PROPERTY DAMAGE:
Colorado law requires that if an insured person does not want to pay the slightly higher price for comprehensive coverage, a lesser coverage must be offered to the consumer. That coverage is called uninsured motorist PD (property damage). This coverage will not pay for the damages to your car in every situation, but will cover your damages when someone without insurance hits your car. For example, this coverage would apply if you park your car and return to find that it has been smashed by some unknown driver who fled the scene. This coverage is sufficient, except that it does not cover instances where you might accidentally cause damage to your own car. Generally, uninsured motorist PD is not that much cheaper than comprehensive coverage, so most folks just pay the few extra bucks and opt for the comprehensive coverage.
3) UNINSURED MOTORIST BODILY INJURY COVERAGE:
As discussed above, the property damage to your car will be covered by either comprehensive or uninsured motorist PD coverage. What about the injuries you sustain because of the fleeing felon? If you are injured by an uninsured driver, such as a maniac running from the police, you need to carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage to be compensated for your injuries. Everyone should have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects any occupant in your car from losses caused by uninsured drivers, and even covers you if you were hit as a pedestrian. The biggest mistake you can make in purchasing insurance is to opt out of uninsured motorist coverage. It's relatively cheap and provides an invaluable layer of protection for you and your family.
In life, you cannot always prevent bad things from happening to you and your family. However, you can prepare for such events by buying the right type of car insurance to protect the ones you love. Purchasing comprehensive coverage and uninsured motorist may cost you a few extra bucks each month, but the peace of mind and security you receive is invaluable. At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we are always willing to speak with you one-on-one at no cost to discuss how insurance coverage can be used to your benefit if you have been injured in a car accident. Call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today at (303) 782-9999.
Useful Uninsured Motorist Accident Articles from Our Denver Personal Injury Blog:
Everyone is supposed to carry a minimum amount of personal liability protection to help pay for the costs of medical care and lost wages in the case of auto accidents. Unfortunately, even with the $25,000 individual /$50,000 requirement Colorado expects from drivers, this is still not enough to cover many costs involved in a car crash with injuries. Moreover, that doesn't mean that everyone will maintain their insurance policies. That's why a number of insurance carriers offer underinsured and uninsured motorist (UIM/UM) coverage. If only it was that easy. Continue Reading...
As most people are aware, after you purchase auto insurance, your adjuster sends you a copy of the insurance policy along with what is called a declaration page. If you review your declaration page, you will see all of the different insurance coverages you purchased. You will see that there is a section called liability or bodily injuries that identifies the amount of coverage you purchased to protect anyone you might hit and injure while driving your vehicle. There is also section on your declaration page entitled Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection “UM or UIM”. UM/UIM protects you in the event you are hit by somebody who either has no auto insurance or insufficient insurance to cover the injuries you sustain. The Colorado Legislature has expressed the intention that when in doubt, the amount of liability coverage you have should be at the same level as your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Colorado law requires a proper disclosure from the insurance company with special language that must properly advise you in the event you do not want to have equal limits for these coverages. Continue Reading...
The latest study shows that one in six Colorado drivers is uninsured. This study only confirms what we have known for years, that drivers often rely on luck and not insurance. When finances are tight, some drivers forgo car insurance, cross their fingers, and hope that they don’t cause a car accident.
With at least 1/6th of all Colorado motorists driving without insurance and even more driving with inadequate levels of insurance, is there any doubt that you should have uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits as part of your auto insurance coverage? If you have liability coverage, that will only protect you if you cause the car crash. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you against drivers who injure you and do not have insurance or have very little coverage to compensate you. Continue Reading...
Is Uninsured Driver Insurance Really Worth It In The Long Run?
There are certain claims that you can bring against your own insurance company that do not affect your future premiums. In a situation where you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or hit by a driver who has less than sufficient coverage to compensate you for your injuries (uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist), making a claim against your policy will not increase your premiums or cause your insurance company to drop you as a customer. Continue Reading...
When a person is injured in a motor vehicle crash, there are almost always two insurance companies that become involved—the at-fault party's insurance company and the injured person's own insurance company. When an at-fault driver has no insurance or when the harms and losses suffered by the injured person exceed the amount of insurance coverage that the at-fault person has, then the injured person can ask her own company to step in and pay additional money under what is called an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Continue Reading...