Why UM coverage is important
The only time most people see the phrase Uninsured/Underinsured motorist (“UM”) coverage is likely on the UM rejection form they are signing with their insurance application. Half the time, policy holder are neither informed on what UM coverage is, nor are they informed about the potential benefits of having UM coverage.
When I ask a client if they have UM coverage after an auto accident, I am usually met with a “what is that?”; “I have full coverage”; “That’s part of my policy, right?” The fact is that, most of the time, the benefits of UM insurance are not fully explained.
WHAT IS UM COVERAGE?
UM insurance provides coverage to you and your resident relatives for damages sustained either (1) when the offending vehicle is uninsured, or (2) when there is not enough liability insurance to cover your damages. It is vastly less expensive than liability coverage, but protects you in just as many ways. Further, under Louisiana law, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for using UM coverage.
It is a requirement in the State of Louisiana to have minimum liability limits of $15,000.00. It is also a requirement in Louisiana that insurers provide UM insurance equal to or more than the selected liability limits.
WHY IS UM COVERAGE IMPORTANT?
In our experience, an ambulance ride and an ER visit after an accident will run your medical bills close to this $15,000.00 limit. So if your injuries require any more treatment, you will likely need UM insurance to cover the difference if the offending driver has minimum limits. But what are the chances of that happening? Well, in 2018, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said about 40 percent of Louisiana drivers get by with the minimum allowable coverage. Another roughly 15 percent drive without coverage. That's approximately 55% that are either uninsured or underinsured!
In Louisiana, the ONLY way you will not be covered under UM coverage is if you specifically REJECT UM coverage, OR specifically select lower limits, OR specifically select economic only UM coverage. This is done on a document commonly known at the "UM Rejection Form." It is generally presented to you during the completion your insurance application. Remember signing and initialing that document? Most people don’t. However, by doing this, you just either signed away or limited any coverage you would have had over a non-existent or insufficient liability policy.
So go look at your auto policy and see if you have UM coverage. If not, talk to your agent and tell them you want UM coverage in your auto policy. It is disheartening to see so many clients come through our doors who have rejected UM coverage and didn’t know it. At that point, it is too late.
 Spouse, children or next of kin living with you at the time of the accident.
 La. R.S. 1284.
 La. R.S. 1295(1)(a)(i).