Uninsured Motorists Coverage
Colorado, just like every state in the US, requires vehicle owners to have a minimal amount of liability insurance coverage, yet the number of uninsured drivers is still too high. This is very problematic if you are injured by an uninsured motorist who has caused an accident. You may not have the financial capacity to cover the cost of property or bodily injury damages. In some cases, you as the motorist, may not have uninsured motorist coverage, or the other driver is underinsured. A Denver uninsured motorist lawyer would say to protect yourself in an instance where an at-fault party does not have enough bodily injury insurance coverage.
As a result of the frequency of uninsured and under-insured motorists being involved in accidents, a Denver uninsured accident lawyer is usually asked what would happen to the victim if the person who caused the accident is either uninsured or underinsured.
A car accident claim can be a tricky situation unless you know the state laws governing uninsured motorists. First of all, with the prevalence of uninsured motorists in the city, or the state as a whole, a Denver auto accident lawyer would recommend getting uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage as a part of your own auto insurance.
Colorado Law for Uninsured Motorists
As of January 1, 2008, the Colorado Revised Statute 10-4-609 closed loopholes from past events being exploited by insurance companies and even victims. You can get in depth information about this from a Denver personal injury lawyer like The Werner Law Firm if you want to learn more. The gist of the legislation though is concerned with two major facets:.
The first of this is offsetting, which a Denver injury lawyer noticed was being exploited by insurance companies. Before the revised statute, insurance companies were not required to pay the full amount stipulated in the UM/UIM coverage purchased by the victim. After the revision, this car accident settlement is no longer permitted as the victim would get the complete amount from their insurance company apart from the money to be paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
On the other hand, motorists who own multiple vehicles, each of which has a UM/UIM coverage, he or she cannot stack the policies. In the past, victims were able to cash excessively from the loophole. If they had three vehicles with the aforementioned coverage, they could file a claim for the three policies at the same time to receive an even larger car accident settlement. If you need more clarification on the subject, you can always consult with a respected Denver personal injury lawyer.
This new law changes Colorado’s UM/UIM coverage in two important ways.
1. Before January 1, 2008, your insurance company could “offset” the amount paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company against the amount available under your own UM policy.
2. Before January 1, 2008 insurance companies were able to include “anti- stacking” language in their UM coverages that prevented those who pay for multiple policies on multiple cars in the same household from adding the UM coverages on each separate policy together in order to maximize coverage.
What is Uninsured (UM) or Under Insured (UIM) Insurance?
“NO TO SETOFF”. Your insurance company is not permitted to setoff or deduct the amount of money paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company against the amount of money available under your own UM policy.
Prior to January 1, 2008, your insurance company was able to “setoff” or reduce the amount of UM coverage they would have to pay you by the amount of liability insurance available from the at fault driver.
Example: Emily was driving home and was hit by Kendra who ran a red light. Emily was severely injured. Kendra had insurance but her maximum insurance coverage was only $100,000. Emily had purchased $250,000 in UM coverage on her own policy.
Before January 1, 2008, after Kendra’s insurance company paid Emily the $100,000 policy limits, Emily’s insurance company was then able to deduct or “setoff” that $100,000 from her UM coverage, leaving her with only an additional $150,000 in coverage. Her total compensation was limited to $250,000.
After January 1, 2008, Kendra’s insurance company paid Emily the $100,000 policy limits. Emily’s insurance company may not deduct the $100,000 from her UM coverage and is legally obligated to pay her the maximum UM insurance coverage of $250,000. Her total compensation is $350,000.
“YES TO STACKING.” Your insurance company is not permitted to include “anti-stacking” language in the UM policy that prevents consumers from adding (stacking) the UM coverage on each separate policy together in order to maximize coverage.
Prior to January 1, 2008, insurance companies could collect premiums for UM coverage on multiple policies covering multiple cars in the same household. However, they would not allow the policy holder to use these multiple coverages at the same time.
Example: Emily was driving home and was hit by Kendra who ran a red light. Emily was severely injured. Kendra was completely uninsured. Emily had purchased and paid premiums on three separate $100,000 UM policies for each of her three cars for a total of $300,000.
Before January 1, 2008, Emily’s insurance policy contained anti-stacking language which allowed the insurance company to limit Emily’s recovery to only $100,000.
After January 1, 2008, Emily is able to combine or “stack” her three policies for a total of $300,000.