When you get into an accident and the other driver is at fault, you generally file a claim against their auto insurance company to cover your damages from the accident. But what happens if the other driver’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to completely cover your damages? Let’s take a look at what you can do in this situation and how a Tampa car accident lawyer can help.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage is an option on your auto insurance that will provide you with coverage in the event that you are hit by a driver with insufficient insurance to cover your damages. If you are hit by this same driver and you don’t have underinsured motorist coverage, you are responsible for paying the remaining amount of your damages their insurance is unable to cover.
There are a couple of stipulations to your underinsured motorist coverage, the first of which is that your underinsured motorist coverage must exceed the insurance policy of the negligent driver. For example, if the negligent driver’s auto insurance policy limit is $100,000, your uninsured motorist coverage must be greater than $100,000 in order to make a claim against your insurer for compensation.
A second stipulation is that your uninsured motorist coverage cannot be greater than the amount of your primary coverage. Therefore, if your primary auto insurance coverage is $100,000, your underinsured coverage can only be up to $100,000. So, your underinsured coverage must be greater than the negligent driver’s primary coverage and no more than your own primary coverage.
Filing an Underinsured Motorist Claim
Whenever you get into a car accident, you need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If the other driver was at fault and you suspect that their insurance may not be enough to cover your damages, go ahead and notify your insurer that you may need to file an underinsured motorist claim.
You won’t necessarily know whether or not you will need to do this right away, though. Underinsured claims take longer to develop since you may not know the extent of your damages until you get an estimate of the value of your car repairs and your medical treatment progresses. When you do believe that your damages are greater than the other driver’s policy limit, notify your insurer as soon as possible that you need to make an underinsured claim against them.
Underinsured motorist claims progress similarly to other car accident claims. The main difference lies in agreeing on a settlement amount with your insurance company. When you are negotiating settlements with another insurer, you can file a lawsuit against them if you cannot agree on a settlement amount. Because in these cases you are negotiating with your own insurer, you cannot file a lawsuit against them if you cannot agree on a settlement amount. Instead, you must take your claim to binding arbitration, which involves a hearing more informal than a court trial.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Negotiating claims with the other driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company can be a tricky endeavor. The process can be even more strenuous if you wind up taking your claim to binding arbitration. Seeking the counsel of a car accident lawyer can greatly benefit you during this process. If you’ve been in a car accident in the Tampa, FL area, contact a local Tampa car accident lawyer at Disparti Law Group to help you get the appropriate amount of compensation.