Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has announced that his Executive Order or what is otherwise known as the “Stay In Place Order” will continue through April of 2020. At this juncture, it is fair to say the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remain largely unknown. Looking at the short-term, there stands to be financial impacts on most Illinois residents and businesses. The anxiety surrounding one’s personal expenses will continue to rise the longer the uncertain financial times remain. As financial stresses persist, the risk increases substantially that Illinois motorist’s insurance premiums will go unpaid causing policies to lapse. Even worse, is the possibility that some Illinois drivers may fail to purchase auto insurance at all despite the legal requirement to do so in order to drive a motor vehicle.
One-way Illinois bicyclists can guarantee protection, should they become a victim in a motor vehicle collision with a driver that has no insurance, is by carrying what is called Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage. Insurance companies often refer to this as “UM/UIM” cover. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is insurance that can be purchased through an insurance company that protects a person even if the other person who caused the accident did not have insurance. In other words, you are buying insurance as a “safety net” in the event the driver who caused a crash has no insurance.
Even before the COVID-19 fallout, some estimates place the number of uninsured drivers in Illinois at one in five drivers. The exact number is difficult to track because drivers not only do not have insurance, but do not even have licenses. But it could mean that 1 in every 5 drivers on the roads does not have insurance.
There is a similar and related type of insurance called Underinsured Motorist Coverage, which provides additional insurance coverage when the at-fault driver did not have enough insurance. Underinsured Motorist Coverage frequently comes into play when the driver who caused a crash has insurance, but only the minimum legally allowed of $25,000.00. For example, let’s say a claim is worth $50,000.00 and the driver who caused the crash has $25,000.00 in insurance
It is important to note that even though the Uninsured Motorist claim is placed with the injured persons own insurance company, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will treat the injured individual any different than any other “claimant.” Insurance companies make money by collecting more in premiums than they pay out in claims. “A claim is a claim” to many insurance companies and unfortunately there is a fight to obtain a fair resolution under the terms of your own insurance policy.
If you carry auto insurance, you can check the amount of Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage you carry by checking your “Declarations Page” if you have it, by checking an insurance account with online access, or simply calling your broker. If you do not carry auto insurance, you can always ask a friend or family member to add you as an “insured” under their policy for this purpose. In these unprecedented times, we must do all we can to protect ourselves and alleviate any unexpected financial obligations.
If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact the firm at 833-CALL-KLO (833-225-5556) or email Info@KeatingLegal.com. The firm’s staff is currently working and are available for phone calls, video chat, e-mail or other communication if necessary. All e-mails and phone calls will be promptly returned, and all initial consultations are confidential and free. Please know that we are here to help, contact us anytime.