Many of us carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on our auto policies. With many accidents caused by drivers with little or no insurance, this coverage is a prudent item to purchase. What you pay for under this coverage is a monetary benefit. If you have this coverage and become injured by an uninsured bad driver, your company is essentially required to assume the role of the bad driver’s insurance company. They are required to pay you benefits in the amount you would have received had the other driver carried insurance. You pay for their expertise in calculating the amount. They are required to review your medical and wage records and come up with a fair evaluation of your claim. They are then required to pay you benefits in the amount of their evaluation. If you disagree with their evaluation, they must provide a process to challenge the amount. This sometimes involves an arbitration hearing or the filing of an actual court case against the company. Either would be foolish to attempt without the aid of an experienced attorney. Many states have enacted laws regulating uninsured motorist coverage. Oregon requires all insurance companies to offer this coverage as an option when you first purchase a policy. Washington does the same and even requires the company have you sign a rejection form if you decide not to purchase. In Washington, a carrier is required to keep this signed rejection note permanently on file. If the carrier can’t produce it after you have an accident with an uninsured driver, they must provide coverage even if you didn’t pay a premium.
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