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California law requires that all motorists maintain auto liability insurance. Despite this, many do not maintain this necessary coverage. This is why many motorists take out added uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

UM or UIM automobile insurance coverage is often offered when you first purchase your policy. Unless you sign a waiver declining the coverage, then you may actually be paying for it even if you don’t remember explicitly adding it on. It’s intended to protect you if you’re in a crash with someone who either has too little liability insurance to cover the cost of any injuries you may suffer or who has no insurance at all.

There are three types of UM or UIM coverage that individuals may take out in California.

Underinsured motorist coverage can be used to pay for your’s or a passenger’s bodily injury if you’re hurt in a crash and another motorist does not have insurance. It only covers limited expenses, though.

Uninsured motorist bodily liability insurance (UMBI) is intended to cover any injuries that either you or a passenger may suffer in a car crash. In order to claim UMBI benefits, crash scene investigators must have determined that the motorist you were involved in the crash with was at fault for it. UMBI coverage limits are often set to match your liability insurance limits.

The final type of UM coverage is uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD). Whereas UMBI covers either yours or your passenger’s injuries, UMPD covers any damage that your car sustains at the hands of an at-fault driver. In California, the maximum amount that UMPD covers is $3,500. Before you can qualify to receive a UMPD payout, crash scene investigators must first identify the at-fault driver.

In situations in which an underinsured or uninsured motorists strikes you, you may expect your insurance company to be on your side to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries or property damage. This is seldom the case, though.

Insurance companies, including your own, are often focused on keeping their costs low, which means they often put up a fight before moving forward in making payouts. Having a Los Angeles attorney working for you that has experience in handling uninsured or underinsured motorist claims can mean the difference between receiving compensation or nothing at all.