Auto / UM / UIM Insurance
Every California driver has a right under the California Insurance Code to a very important type of insurance. As part of every automobile liability insurance policy, it is mandatory that uninsured / underinsured (UM / UIM) motorist coverage be included as part of every automobile insurance policy in California.
Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance that protects a driver, passengers, pedestrians, when they are injured as a result of the negligence of the driver of an automobile that does not have insurance. It is a type of "first party" insurance (like life insurance, health insurance, and homeowner's insurance), through which your insurance company makes a promise to you to pay your claim up to the uninsured motorist policy limits.
Underinsured motorist coverage is very similar to uninsured motorist coverage. The main difference is that underinsured motorist coverage provides insurance up to the policy limit when a negligent driver carries limits of insurance that are less than the limits of the underinsured policy. For example, if somebody negligently crashes into you but they only have a $15,000 (minimum) policy, and you have $50,000 in damages. If you have Underinsured Motorist Limits of $50,000 or more, your own insurance will cover you up to the amount of your loss after you have first collected the $15,000 policy limits from the negligent driver who hit you.
Your own insurance company who sold you your UM / UIM coverage has a duty of good faith and fair dealing. Your insurance company breaches that duty when it breaks its promise to fully and fairly investigate your claim, to not raise bogus defenses, and to promptly pay you the full value of your claim. An insurance company's promise to be fair, honest and prompt in handling UM / UIM claims is a very important part of every automobile insurance policy.
If your car insurance claim has been denied, you need an insurance bad faith lawyer with a proven track record for fighting insurance companies and for making them pay claims.