"Uninsured" motorist coverage protects you when the other party has $0.00 in liability insurance because they were uninsured at the time of the car collision producing your injuries. Thus, your car collision lawyer would open an "Uninsured" motorist claim with your own auto insurance company. This is common, and it is another reason to make sure you have plenty of this type of coverage.

However, "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage only protects you when you are injured by a driver that had some liability auto insurance, but not enough. Let's say the at-fault party only has California state minimal limits of $15,000.00 in liability, but your case is worth $50,000.00. Let's further say you have $50,000.00 in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage. Well, you take the policy limits of the $15,000.00 from the at-fault party, and then your auto insurance gets to take "credit" of that $15,000.00 and apply it to your $50,000.00 "UNDER-insured" motorist benefits, leaving you with an additional $35,000.00 to pursue in order to obtain your $50,000.00 cash value.

Many consumers do not realize that your auto insurance gets to take credit of that $15,000.00 from the at-fault party. But what most consumers fail to realize at all, is that they have to have more in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage than what the at-fault party had in liability limits to even trigger an "UNDER-insured" motorist review. This is an important distinction! For example, if the at-fault party only had $15,000.00 in liability, and you only have $15,000.00 in "UNDER-insured" motorist, and your case is worth $50,000.00, you would only be able to collect the $15,000.00 in liability from the at-fault party's insurance as your sole recovery from any insurance source! You would not be able to collect your own $15,000.00 in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage because you had the same in coverage with "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage as the at-fault party had in liability coverage ($15,000.00).

What To Remember About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

So, again, the bottom line is, you have to have MORE in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage than what the at-fault party had in liability limits in order to collect within the "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage that you have. I recommend you have at LEAST $100,000.00 in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage, if not much more. If you can afford $500,000.00 - $1,000,000.00 in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage it would be a good investment to protect you and your family, not to mention, peace of mind. I cannot tell you enough how many times I have seen good injury cases go nowhere because there is just not enough car insurance to obtain anywhere. 

As a car insurance consumer, you are not responsible for what others have in liability coverage, but you are in control and responsible for what you have in "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage. So, be pro-active, as opposed to reactive, and review your auto policy today, and make sure you have plenty of "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage.  If you really sit down and do the math, it is not that much more to get decent "UNDER-insured" motorist coverage compared to a premium reflecting a minimal amount policy. 

If you have been injured in car collision, and have "UNDER-insured" motorist issues, and still have questions, I invite you to give me a call at 619.813.7955. I take calls like yours every single day, and I would be happy to see if I can help you in your particular situation. As always, stay strong!  Attorney Mark C. Blane

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney