UM (uninsured motorists) coverage and UIM (underinsured motorists) coverage are some of the most important auto insurance coverages you can get. That’s because although every driver in Georgia and Alabama is legally required to purchase liability insurance to cover the expenses of the people they may injure in a crash, a lot of them don’t. And a lot of the people who cause crashes are the same ones who don’t buy coverage.

According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, about one in every eight drivers in the U.S. is driving uninsured. In Alabama, it’s closer to about one in every five.

If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, there is no insurance policy to file a claim against, which means you may need to go after the driver directly for the compensation you need. Unfortunately, most uninsured drivers can’t afford the monthly insurance premiums and, thus, can’t afford to pay for your vehicle repairs, medical bills, and lost wages either. In other words, good luck collecting.

Related Reading: What Do I Do If the Other Driver In My Wreck Refuses to Give Me Their Insurance Information?

That means even if the crash was 100% the other driver’s fault, you could be responsible for 100% of your own costs.

That’s where UM coverage comes in. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you can use your own auto insurance to get the compensation you need without accepting any fault for the accident. Additionally, if the driver who hit you does have insurance, but not enough—for example, if they only purchased the minimum amount of liability coverage ($25,000 per person per crash up to $50,000 and $25,000 in property damage in Georgia and Alabama) and your losses are more than that—you can use your UIM coverage to cover the remaining amount the other driver’s insurance won’t pay.

UM/UIM is not legally required in Georgia and Alabama. However, insurers are legally required to offer it. Unless you specifically declined this coverage when purchasing your policy, it is likely you have it. Additionally, while these coverages are typically packaged together, it is also possible to only have one and not the other. Check your auto insurance policy to determine whether you currently have either or both of these coverages and what the policy limits are.

VIDEO: Gary Bruce discusses how adding a teenager to your insurance policy affects your rates.

Will UIM Cover My Vehicle Repairs if There Are No Injuries?

Yes. After a crash, your property damage claim and your personal injury claim are two SEPARATE claims, and your uninsured/underinsured coverage can be used for both types of claims.

Since these are separate claims, you can file a property damage claim and get the money you need to repair your car before resolving your claim for any injuries, if needed. If your insurance company tries to tell you that by agreeing to a settlement to repair your car, you are waiving any future compensation for medical expenses, get a personal injury lawyer involved. Your insurance company should not be finalizing both your property damage claim and your injury claim at the same time without your knowledge and agreement.

For property damage claims after wrecks that weren’t your fault, your insurance should cover (up to policy limits):

  • The cost to repair your vehicle (this should also include replacing airbags and seatbelts, which should not be reused after a crash)
  • The fair market value for your vehicle immediately prior to the crash (if the vehicle was totaled in the crash)
  • The cost to repair or replace any valuable personal property inside the vehicle that was damaged in the crash (such as cell phones, laptops, etc.)
  • The cost to replace any child car seats (these should not be reused after a crash, because the plastic can become damaged by the force of impact and less effective at keeping children safe)
  • The cost to repair damage to your property in single-vehicle accidents (such as if someone struck your mailbox, fence, or home)

If you are filing a property damage claim, you may be charged a deductible. Check your policy to learn the details of your coverage.

Related Reading: Can I Win an Argument with the Insurance Company if It Wants to Total My Car?

Will UIM Cover My Vehicle Repairs if I Was At Fault for the Crash?

No. Your UM/UIM coverage can only be used if the other driver was at fault for the crash. If you were at fault for a crash, you will have to use your collision coverage to pay for your personal property damage costs, while your liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s property damage costs.

Collision coverage is not legally required in Georgia and Alabama, and many drivers may choose not to purchase it to save money, but it can end up costing you a lot more money down the road not to have it, if you ever cause a crash.

If you were found partially but not the majority responsible for a crash involving an uninsured driver, things can get complicated. Reach out to our firm for a free consultation to discuss your options and how much you may be owed under what coverage.

Gary Bruce Knows How to Help Injury Victims

After a crash, people are in pain, and often stressed by having to deal with doctors, auto body shops, and missed days at work. The last thing they need is to add an argumentative insurance company on top of that.

At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we take over the hard part so all you have to do is focus on healing. Contact us today to discuss your claim with a lawyer for free.