Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers

Traffic accidents occur every day in Iowa.  Iowa law requires that the owner of a vehicle have it insured.  Have you ever been pulled over?  One of the first questions the officer will ask is for proof of insurance.  Fail to have it, get a ticket.  However despite this fact many motorists still drive their vehicles without insurance. Multitudes more have insurance but with limits that are so low they cannot adequately cover significant injuries should they result from a collision. The Insurance Research Council estimates that 11.5 percent of Motorists on the road in Iowa are completely uninsured. That figure does not include the many more that are underinsured.  

This is where uninsured and underinsured coverage comes in, to cover you if you get in an accident with a driver who was not covered or adequately covered.  In fact Iowa law not only requires that motorists have insurance coverage for their vehicles, it also mandates uninsured coverage also known as UIM coverage, unless you take steps to exclude this coverage.  Additionally this insurance also covers you and your family whether driving or riding yin your or someone else’s’ car.  Very importantly, in the event of a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, an underinsured coverage, sometimes also referred to as UDM coverage, claim may be needed even if someone has coverage that would otherwise generally be thought of as sufficient.

Uninsured and underinsured coverage claims have unique requirements and pitfalls under the insurance contracts.  For example, the statute of limitations to make a claim on a written contract is generally 10 years in Iowa.  However, the insurance contracts now typically contractually reduce those time periods to 2 years from the date of the accident, whether the driver is aware of that limitation or not.  The contracts also set forth certain prerequisites that may have to me met in order to make UIM or UDM claim.  Accordingly, it is very important to have legal expert who is familiar with UIM claims. If not, it is quite possible that an injured driver could be unable to collect on their own insurance coverage that they have paid for years, simply because of some minor technicality.

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