Uninsured motorist coverage is basically a type of auto liability insurance coverage sold by auto insurance companies. Typically, this coverage helps pay for your losses and damages if you’re in any kind of motor vehicle accident caused by someone without vehicle insurance, or if you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver that cannot be identified. In Michigan, this insurance coverage is optional, but some states have made it mandatory.
Unfortunately, over 20% of all Michigan drivers do not have any auto insurance coverage on their vehicle. This is an added risk other motorists expose our citizens to. Michigan law requires auto insurance on all vehicle placed on Michigan roads. However, for a variety of reasons some motorists chose not to purchase auto insurance. The statistical fact is that if you’re in a Michigan car crash, you basically have a 1 in 5 chance of being involved in a crash with an uninsured motorist. In other words, those uninsured drivers are exposing you to the inability to be compensated, unless you have uninsured motorist coverage protecting you and your family. In some case, you may hurt by a hit and run driver who cannot be identified so no insurance coverage is ever discovered. In these instances, Michigan drivers can protect themselves by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage.
Your auto insurance company sells Uninsured motorist coverage cheaply, which would apply when the injured person is injured by a hit-and-run driver or when the at-fault driver does not have any bodily injury insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
In most of these cases, the injured person can pursue uninsured motorist benefits with their own insurance company or the insurance company of the vehicle they are in at the time of the accident. In essence, your insurance company “steps into the shoes” of the uninsured motorist and pays the claim same as the at fault driver would pay, up to the uninsured motorist policy limit. In some instances, the injured person did not purchase uninsured motorist coverages of their own but was a passenger in a vehicle that has uninsured motorist coverage, then the injured person may make the claim with the policy having the uninsured motorist coverage.
The auto insurance company’s policy language will determine your rights to uninsured motorist benefits because Michigan law does not require you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.
You are entitled to claim everything you would normally claim against the at-fault driver in a negligence case. Typically, in an auto negligence case, you would claim pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment and the pleasures of your life that you suffered due to your auto accident injuries. It is important to note that under Michigan law, pain and suffering damage are subject to a threshold and are not available to those who have minor injuries.
In Michigan, your damages claim for uninsured motorist benefits can also include your expenses that exceed the amount of PIP benefits allowed under your own Michigan no-fault insurance policy.
Under Michigan law, residents injured in auto accidents can recover personal protection insurance (PIP) no-fault benefits through their own insurance company or MAIP, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. PIP benefits include allowable medical expenses, and wage loss and household replacement services up to three years after their accident-related losses. To the extent that the injured person’s medical expenses and wage loss income claims are payable through his or her Michigan no-fault insurance policy, those medical expenses and wage loss claims cannot be recovered in the Michigan uninsured motorist claim. However, if the injured person’s medical expenses exceed the limits of coverage for no-fault medical expense coverage, the excess medical expenses can be made in the uninsured motorist claim. This is also the case for wage loss income that exceeds the three-year maximum or maximum monthly wage set by statute, that is available through their own no-fault insurance policy.
Due to the new no-fault law, non-Michigan residents injured in an auto accident here are barred from receiving Michigan no-fault PIP benefits, unless they own a vehicle that is registered in Michigan and insured with Michigan auto insurance policy. Therefore, most non-Michigan residents will have to pursue all their damages from the at-fault driver. Additionally, when an at-fault driver has no insurance, it is even more important for the non-Michigan resident to pursue any uninsured motorist claim they may have available.
We highly recommend everyone purchase uninsured motorist coverage because it’s inexpensive.
We recommend that you hire an experienced auto accident attorney to handle the uninsured motorist claim because the terms and conditions of the policy are usually confusing. Some injured people do try to handle their own uninsured motorist claim, but usually run into trouble with the policy conditions and value of the case. The policy has many terms and conditions that most people are unaware of. You could easily jeopardize your uninsured motorist benefits. Normally, the insurance company has its own best interests in mind when dealing with the consumer. We always recommend that you hire an experienced uninsured motorist attorney who is familiar with auto insurance contracts and applicable law so that you get the best possible outcome. It takes away your stress, and financial burden you and your family may experience in handling your own claim.
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