Do I need Uninsured Motorists Coverage?
If you live in Louisiana, you live in a state where 15% of the drivers do not have car insurance at all. And 40% of the drivers in Louisiana have the most basic minimum limits coverage as required by Louisiana law, which, as discussed here, does not actually cover that much.
SO WHY SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Because that means most Louisiana drivers do not have enough insurance coverage (if they have it at all). If you are in an accident that is not your fault with one of those uninsured or under-insured motorists, you may be stuck having to pay for your own medical expenses and property damage, and you may be unable to recover any lost wages you may have.
Let's say you get into an accident with a person who does not have insurance coverage at all. While it may not always be the case, you can reasonably guess that a person who is willing to break the law and drive without car insurance is probably not a person who has a lot of assets like property, investments, and so on.
So if you get into an accident with this person who has no insurance and no assets that you can go after, you are pretty much stuck paying for the damage and injuries you sustain yourself.
This unfortunately happens too frequently, which is why Louisiana requires at least minimum coverage to begin with.
HERE'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE…
Say you get into an accident with a person who has minimum coverage as required by Louisiana law. In other words, they have a “15-30-25” policy. Say your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. (general damages) amount to $100,000.
This person's policy is only obligated to pay you $15,000 for your general damages. Without UM (Uninsured Motorists) coverage, you would be left with $85,000 that is unpaid. And if the person who caused the accident has no assets, there would not be much you could do about it.
However, if you did have UM coverage, and say for example it was $100,000 in coverage, your UM coverage would pick up that unpaid portion to compensate you for your general damages.
DO I NEED UM COVERAGE IF I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?
Many people make the argument that UM coverage is unnecessary because their health insurance will cover medical expenses if the other driver's insurance does not.
That is true… if you have health insurance.
Even if you do have health insurance, you will still be out-of pocket the following:
- Your deductible, which could be high.
- Your co-pays, which may also be high.
- Your lost wages from missed work due to the accident.
- Your pain and suffering.
So while your health insurance may help cover some of the cost of the medical care you must receive from the accident you did not cause, it will not cover everything, and what it does not cover could add up to be a lot.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY FOR AN ACCIDENT I DIDN'T CAUSE?
You shouldn't. But the unfair reality is that a lot of Louisianans either do not have car insurance or do not have enough car insurance. Sometimes it's a simple matter of them not knowing any better and not wanting to pay any more per month for something they don't feel like they need. Sometimes drivers can't afford more insurance.
The bottom line is this…in a state where too many people are uninsured or under-insured, having UM coverage can be very handy if you get into an accident that is not your fault. If you can afford it, it is definitely worth having.