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Uninsured Motorists

July 13, 2008 by The Sawaya Law Firm

Colorado has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the country. If you are hit in an auto accident, don’t expect the responsible party to have insurance. Some studies have indicated that up to 38% of Colorado drivers are uninsured. Yikes!

What happens if, heaven forbid, you are injured in an auto accident, end up spending months in the hospital and incurring substantial costs, and the other driver has no insurance? If you don’t have uninsured motorist protection, you will be responsible for those bills. You could even end up in bankruptcy! Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection (UM/UIM) is the safest way to guarantee that you will be able to recover if you are involved in a serious accident. Coverage is very inexpensive, and can make the difference in having your bills paid for, or having to pay them yourself.

Most of the people I meet with have no idea what type of auto insurance they have. You should study carefully the types of protection available, and spend some time reflecting on what type of coverage you want. Many people tell me they have “full coverage”. The reality is that there is no such thing as “full coverage”. Full coverage is a marketing term that insurance companies have created to sell insurance, much like the “Rich Corinthian Leather” Ricardo Montalban advertised for Chrysler in the ’80’s, or the “Professional Grade” standards GM advertises for their trucks. The reality is that the term “full coverage”, carries no legal ramifications whatsoever!

State law requires that you carry a minimum amount of protection, referred to as Bodily Injury coverage (BI), in case you accidentally cause an accident. You should also consider purchasing Comprehensive coverage, in case your car explodes in your garage during the night. Collision coverage refers to the amount an insurer will pay to replace your damaged vehicle. UM/UIM coverage is perhaps the most important brand of coverage. Typically, UM/UIM coverage tracks the Bodily Injury (BI) protection you have on your auto insurance policy…that is to say, it will equal the amount of BI coverage.

In Colorado, the state minimums are low, only $25,000/$50,000. This means that if you are in an accident, your insurance company will pay up to $50,000 to cover the medical bills of all the parties involved in an accident, with no more than $25,000 going to any one individual. You can see, then, that this amount could quickly be eaten up in the case of a serious accident with serious injuries. An ambulance ride and an ER visit alone could cost you several thousand dollars.

You should talk with your insurance agent, and raise your coverage amounts well above the state minimums. We recommend purchasing minimum limits for BI and UM/UIM coverage of at least $100,000/$300,000. If you can afford to purchase more, do it. When the time comes that you need such protection, don’t be one of the unfortunate few that have no UM/UIM if you are injured by an uninsured motorist.

The Sawaya Law Firm is Denver’s personal injury law firm. With over 40 years of experience and a compassionate team prepared to listen to your story, The Sawaya Law Firm is here to help. Contact us anytime.

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