By: Douglas A. Petho
Uninsured motorist coverage or “UM” is coverage which protects you in the event you are struck by a motorist does not have liability insurance. In determining whether or not the “at fault” vehicle is covered by liability insurance, it is first necessary to look for insurance coverage on the vehicle itself. If there is no insurance on the vehicle and the at fault vehicle and the vehicle is owned by the at fault driver, then UM coverage would apply. If however, the at fault driver is not the owner of the at fault vehicle, then he or she may still be covered by the liability policy of any vehicle they own or any vehicles which they are an “insured” under the policy, such as vehicles owned by other family members in the household.
An insured seeking benefits under UM coverage has a duty to cooperate with their insurance carrier. This means that if requested, the insured must provide a recorded statement, submit, if requested, to an independent medical examination if personal injuries are alleged, as well as provide assistance in the investigation of the accident. It is generally understood that a claimant has no such obligations in dealing with a liability insurance carrier as it is an adversarial relationship. Even though the uninsured motorist carrier is” stepping into the shoes” of the nonexistent liability carrier, it receives these benefits.