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How does uninsured motorist insurance work in Louisiana?


Louisiana motorists are generally required to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles. The main purpose of liability insurance is to pay damages on behalf of the insured party in the event someone is injured by the negligent operation of the vehicle. Under state law, each vehicle must carry liability coverage of at least $15,000 per person injured or killed, and at least $30,000 per accident if two or more people are injured or killed.

Unfortunately, far too many people ignore these laws and drive without insurance. To address this problem, Louisiana law requires that every auto insurance policy issued in the state include uninsured motorist coverage, unless the customer rejects the coverage in writing. The uninsured coverage must be in amounts at least equal to the policy's liability coverage, unless the customer opts in writing for lower coverage or chooses coverage for economic loss only, without coverage for pain and suffering.

When a person is injured by a negligent driver and that driver turns out to be uninsured, the injured person can make a claim against the uninsured coverage of their own policy. The uninsured coverage essentially takes the place of the liability coverage the negligent driver failed to carry.

The law defines an uninsured motorist to include a hit-and-run driver who cannot be identified. In that situation there must be physical contact between the vehicles, unless the injured person can prove, through an independent witness, that the unidentified driver caused the accident. An uninsured motorist is also defined to include someone who is underinsured; that is, they have insurance, but not enough to cover all the victim's injuries.

In a serious injury claim arising out of an auto accident, uninsured coverage can play a key role in providing adequate compensation for the victim. It is a good idea for every driver in Louisiana to make sure they have uninsured coverage in their policy and if not, to get it.

Source: Louisiana Revised Statutes ยง 1295, accessed May 7, 2016

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