On October 23, 2023, seven people were killed and at least 63 were injured in a massive 168-car pileup on I-55 outside of New Orleans. The pile up was caused by a thick layer of super fog – a combination of fog and wildfire smoke that dramatically reduced visibility. In some spots, visibility was near zero, which created dangerous driving conditions. The deadly wreck made national and international headlines. Reports indicate that there were at least 25 separate accidents on the roadway that morning.
While the wreck is still under police investigation, insurance companies have already started their own investigation and are looking for who to blame. Given the sheer number of vehicles, the number of people injured, and the number of deaths, one thing is for certain – there will not be enough insurance to go around.
In a massive pileup like this one, if the at-fault driver had the state minimum coverage of $15,000 (per person)/$30,000 (per accident)/$15,000 (property damage), the probability of there being enough money is minimal. That means their insurance would pay up to $30,000 per wreck for the bodily injuries. So, if two or more people are hurt, that number gets smaller and smaller as their injuries become known. It is important to note, that if only one person was injured, that person could be awarded up to $15,000 only – not a penny more. Likewise, the insurance company would pay up to $15,000 for all the property damages combined. So if multiple vehicles sustained damages, that number gets smaller and smaller. There simply won’t be enough insurance to go around. Leaving some motorists with no chance of recovery, unless they have UM/UIM (Uninsured motorist coverage/Underinsured motorist coverage).
If you have UM/UIM, you can make a claim on your policy and receive compensation for your injuries and have your car repaired or replaced. It should also give you a piece of mind that your insurance company also cannot raise your rates or drop your coverage because you made a claim under your UM/UIM coverage. This is the exact reason why you should have that coverage.
This is just one example of why it is so important to have UM/UIM coverage(1) on your policy. If you have any questions about your coverage, you can give us a call and we can help you out.
(1) When purchasing UM/UIM coverage, make sure you are purchasing UM/UIM bodily injury coverage and NOT UM/UIM economic only coverage which only covers the cost of medical bills.
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