In the first blog post in a seven-part series, our Birmingham car accident lawyers explain uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) auto insurance coverage.
Alabama law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to their insureds. An at-fault driver is uninsured when they do not have car insurance at all. An at-fault driver is underinsured when they do not have enough insurance coverage to compensate for the damages they caused in an accident.
However, the law allows individuals to waive their rights to UM/UIM coverage. When an insured waives their right to UM/UIM coverage, the insurance company is no longer required to pay benefits to the insured for accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers. To effectively reject UM/UIM coverage, the rejection must be both in writing and signed by the insured. A mere oral rejection is not sufficient.
A named insured cannot reject UM/UIM coverage on behalf of another named insured. A named insured is the person to whom the insurance policy was written. For example, when a husband and a wife both have UM/UIM coverage as named insureds, the husband cannot sign away the wife’s coverage.
However, a named insured can reject UM/UIM coverage for all unnamed insureds. For example, if a named insured’s wife is not a named insured, the husband can expressly reject UM/UIM coverage for her. A named insured need not reject UM/UIM coverage for all unnamed insureds; a named insured can reject coverage for some and retain it for others.
To ensure that you are protected by your auto insurance in the event you are in a car accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, it is recommended not to opt out of UM/UIM coverage. Yet, the choice is yours—and there may be ways to receive compensation for damages even without the coverage.
To learn about how we may be able to help you pursue compensation if you have been hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact our Birmingham car accident attorneys at (205) 377-5004 to schedule your free consultation.