Auto Accidents Newsletters
State assigned risk plans basically operate by creating a pool made up of those drivers who would otherwise not be able to obtain necessary insurance coverage and apportioning the responsibility for providing coverage on the members of that pool among the insurers who write motor vehicle policies in the state. As a consequence of the unique and higher-risk nature of the assigned risk business, state laws covering assigned risk plans often contain detailed provisions concerning application for, participation in, and termination of assigned risk coverage.
Possession of a valid driver’s license, while a prerequisite for the legal operation of a car or truck on the public roads, is clearly not a prerequisite for being physically capable of driving a vehicle. As a result, a great many motor vehicles in the United States are driven by persons not legally licensed to do so. Such unlicensed operations, and the vehicular accidents that inevitably result from them, raise a number of issues in the area of motor vehicle insurance.
An automobile insurance company has the right to choose whom it will insure. If an applicant for automobile insurance is deemed to be a bad risk, the insurance company can refuse to issue an insurance policy. Ordinarily, the insurance company does not have to give the applicant a reason for refusing to insure him or her. However, insurance companies must act in good faith in their dealings with insureds and applicants. Although an insurance company can refuse to insure someone, they cannot refuse to insure a person for an improper reason. The same applies to the cancellation of an insurance policy.
Because a substantial number of owners and operators of cars and trucks in the United States fail to maintain adequate insurance coverage or operate their vehicles without any insurance coverage at all, many motor vehicle insurance policies contain provisions for underinsured motorist coverage, sometimes abbreviated UIM, or uninsured motorist coverage, sometimes abbreviated UM. The intent of such provisions is to give persons insured under auto insurance policies and innocent third persons some of the insurance protection they would have enjoyed if the underinsured or uninsured motorist with whom they are involved in an accident had maintained adequate insurance coverage on an uninsured or underinsured vehicle.
Underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist provisions in auto insurance policies often contain language stating that the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage will not become available until the policy limits of all insurance policies that are applicable to the accident have been exhausted by the payment of judgments or settlements. Such exhaustion requirements are included in the policy because of the substitute or supplemental nature of the coverage and the understandable desire of the insurer to assure that all other available coverage has been applied before it is obligated to pay benefits under the underinsured or uninsured motorist provisions of the policy.