The newly revised Colorado Revised Statute 10-4-609, effective January 1, 2008, addresses uninsured motorists (UM) and under-insured (UIM) motorist claims and closes the loopholes that prevented consumers from receiving the full benefits they thought they were buying when purchasing UM/UIM coverage in Colorado.
What is Liability Insurance?
Property damage liability coverage pays for the physical damage to the vehicle damaged in the accident by the at-fault driver. Bodily injury liability coverage provides compensation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision. The State of Colorado requires that every owner of an car have at least $25,000.00 in bodily injury liability insurance coverage.
What is Uninsured (UM) or Under-Insured (UIM) Insurance?
Despite the fact that Colorado law requires every automobile owner in Colorado to maintain insurance on their vehicle, many drivers who cause accidents do not have car insurance and are therefore “uninsured motorists.” In other cases, the driver who caused an accident may be insured but may not have enough coverage to pay for all of the injuries caused in the accident and is “under-insured.” We are frequently asked, “What happens to my case if the person who caused the accident is uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance?”
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, or does not have enough insurance, we look to your automobile insurance policy for compensation for injuries and losses. Under Colorado law, insurance companies selling automobile insurance in Colorado are required to sell Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist Insurance as part of every policy sold unless the coverage is specifically refused in writing. Uninsured or under-insured (UM/UIM) coverage is a separate coverage that provides coverage to you and your passengers if injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or under-insured driver. This coverage “steps into the shoes” of the at-fault driver and pays you the same kind of damages you could have recovered from the at-fault driver’s insurance had the driver been insured. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage may be available to pay your claim if any resident in your household owns a car that has uninsured motorist coverage regardless of whether you were occupying the car at the time of the accident. In fact your uninsured motorist coverage will even cover you if you are a pedestrian hit by an uninsured driver.
To be continued. Next up: “What is Set-Off”?