In addition to liability coverage, insurance companies will also offer coverage for accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers. Some states differentiate between uninsured motorist coverage (protects against accidents with drivers who don’t have any insurance) and underinsured motorist coverage (protects against accidents with drivers who don’t have enough insurance). Louisiana, however, doesn’t make this distinction and treats the two coverages as one and the same.
While not everybody elects to purchase this coverage, it can be very helpful if you get into an accident. Studies show that 13% of Louisiana drivers are uninsured, compared to 14% nationally. That’s a pretty high number and creates dangerous odds for drivers who are involved in car accidents.
All of this can be avoided, or at least minimized, however, if you made the decision to buy UM coverage. If you have the coverage and it applies to your accident, your insurance company may be required to make a UM tender to you.
How Do UM Tenders in Louisiana Work?
You first have to provide your insurance company with “proof of loss.” This means that you have to show (1) your accident was caused by the fault of an uninsured or underinsured driver, (2) the uninsured or underinsured driver caused you damages, and (3) the extent of those damages.
Insofar as proof of damages is concerned, this can done by sending the insurance company copies of your medical records and bills. Once the insurance company receives proof of loss, they will be obligated to unconditionally tender (or give you) the “undisputed” portion of your losses. UM tenders can be an incredibly helpful tool in a personal injury case, especially in one where the injured person is receiving ongoing treatment.
You can periodically send medical records, after which the insurance company will have an obligation to make additional tenders. If the insurance company fails to timely tender the amounts owed, they can be subject to claims for penalties and attorney’s fees. The potential for a bad faith claim provides a strong incentive for insurers to quickly and properly make UM tenders. Click here to learn more about bad faith claims in Louisiana.