Our clients are always concerned when they are deciding whether to make a claim under their uninsured motorist coverage whether their insurance company will raise their rates. They always express that they do not want to sue their own insurance company.
What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
When you sign up for automobile insurance, you have the option of purchasing uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist insurance in addition to your liability coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is insurance that you purchase that steps in to cover you when another driver is not insured or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. In fact, in Louisiana, you have to specifically reject this type of coverage if you do not want to purchase it.
So basically you are buying insurance to step in if another person injures you and does not have enough insurance.
You can also use this coverage if you are involved in a hit and run accident in Louisiana and you have property damage or an independent witness.
Can My Insurance Drop Me if I make a Claim? Can My Insurance Company Raise My Rates If I Make a Claim?
In Louisiana, it is completely illegal for an insurance company to raise your rates or drop you if you file a uninsured motorist claim. The only way they can penalize you is for an at-fault accident.
Louisiana R.S. 22:1284 states:
A. No insurer shall increase the rate, increase or add a surcharge, cancel, or fail to renew any policy of motor vehicle insurance when such action is based on consideration of one or more nonfault incidents.
B. In this Section, "nonfault incident" means an accident, collision, or other incident involving a vehicle covered by a policy issued by the insurer in which the driver of the insured vehicle was not at fault, regardless of whether the incident was reported to any law enforcement agency.
So, the short answer is that if you are not at fault and you make a claim under your own insurance, THEY CANNOT DROP YOU OR RAISE YOUR RATES.
If it turns out that your insurance company does drop you or raise your rates after you make a uninsured motorist claim or following a nonfault accident, they can be liable to you for a premium refund, damages and attorney's fees.
Louisiana R.S. 22:1284 states
C. Any insurer who violates this Section shall refund to the insured person the amount of premium which was paid which exceeded the premium which would have been charged if the insurer had complied with this Section, together with a penalty payment in amount equal to triple the amount of the refund or one thousand dollars, whichever is greater. The insured shall also be entitled to attorney fees should he prevail.
D. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, one or more nonfault accidents or collisions shall not be the sole basis for an insurer's denial of an application for a policy of motor vehicle insurance nor shall such an accident or collision be considered by an insurer in determining the rates for such a policy. In addition, no insurer shall require that such coverage be provided by another insurer based solely upon such an accident or collision.
Should I make a Claim against My Own Insurance?
If you are injured and there is no other insurance available, of course. This is exactly what you pay for when you buy insurance – to use it when you need it.
If you would like a consultation on whether you can make a claim against your insurance company in Louisiana or whether they could raise your rates or cancel your insurance if you make a claim against your insurance company in Louisiana, please give us a call. We offer free consultations on these claims.
This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.