The importance of uninsured motorist coverage to Oklahoma drivers

Normally, when an Oklahoman is injured in a motor vehicle accident in which the driver of the other car was at fault, the other driver's policy would cover the victim's personal injury costs like medical bills. What happens when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover these injury costs or does not carry required car insurance at all? What happens if an at-fault driver cannot be identified in a hit-and-run accident? 

Purpose of UM coverage

If the owner of the victim's car had uninsured motorist coverage on his or her auto insurance policy, personal injuries of the owner, family members and passengers would all be covered. Uninsured motorist coverage is often referred to as UM coverage.

UM coverage normally would cover medical costs up to the policy limit and depending on the contract terms, may also cover lost wages related to the injuries or damages for pain and suffering.

UM coverage, however, does not pay for damage to the victim's vehicle, only for personal injury costs. That would have to be paid for by the victim's collision coverage in these cases, if collision has been purchased as part of the policy.

UM a good idea

According to the Oklahoma Insurance Department or OID, state law does not require that Oklahomans carry UM coverage, but insurance companies must offer it as an option in all state policies. It is advisable that any Oklahoman buying car insurance strongly consider obtaining UM coverage. The added expense is usually relatively affordable. Without UM, should an accident occur with an underinsured, uninsured or hit-and-run driver, medical bills add up very quickly, and in a catastrophic injury, could be financially devastating

Without UM coverage, the victim could try to sue the other driver to recover costs related to the injuries, but if that driver did not have sufficient insurance in the first place, he or she may not have the assets necessary to satisfy such a judgment and it may be difficult to collect.

By the numbers

According to the Insurance Information Institute or iii, as of 2015, approximately one of every eight drivers was not insured. In Oklahoma, uninsured drivers were about 10.5 percent of all drivers. This number could be interpreted as meaning that in an Oklahoma motor vehicle accident, the chance of an uninsured driver being involved is about one in 10 - a relatively high chance that justifies carrying uninsured coverage.

Whatever the insurance coverage situation, anyone injured in a car crash should discuss the situation with an experienced accident attorney for legal assistance in recovering fair compensation under all applicable policies.

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