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My auto insurance policy has "uninsured motorist" coverage. What is this?

Surprisingly, Virginia law does not require drivers to carry auto insurance. Thus, there are a great number of uninsured motorists on our roads who drive with full knowledge that they lack coverage. There are likewise many drivers who accidentally let their insurance lapse due to nonpayment of premiums. Uninsured drivers pose a risk to everyone.

As the name suggests, uninsured motorist coverage (commonly called UM coverage) is a specific type of insurance intended to legally protect those who have been wrongfully injured or even killed by an uninsured driver. In such a case, the victim may file a claim against her own insurance company, against the UM coverage. The company, in turn, is entitled to take all legal action to defend the claim on behalf of the uninsured driver. In this fashion, an insurance company handling a UM claim is free to act on behalf of the negligent uninsured driver and defend against its own policyholder. Although a case against an uninsured driver can be challenging and legally complex, UM coverage is a valuable consumer remedy in Virginia. It allows you to protect yourself against uninsured drivers. Therefore, we recommend that you review your own auto insurance policy and purchase the highest amount of UM coverage available.  

 

 

Andrew Thomas
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Andrew Thomas is an experienced civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.