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This page refers to Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist law in North Carolina.

Since laws differ between states, if you are located in South Carolina, please click here.

Injured By Uninsured Motorists or Underinsured Motorists in North Carolina

It’s bad enough that you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence. Then it goes from bad to worse: They don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance. It couldn’t get worse, could it?

There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is that every North Carolina car insurance policy has Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. The bad news is that you’re still going to have to deal with an insurance company, and they may not be as eager to help as they may have you believe.

If you are ready to have someone on your side who knows how to counter the insurance company’s games, call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation, any day, any time.


What Does Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance Cover?

Uninsured Motorist coverage is a part of your car insurance policy designed to protect you and your passengers if you’re injured by an uninsured at-fault driver.

So what does uninsured motorist cover? North Carolina General Statute 20-279.21(b)(3) lays out the requirements and function of uninsured motorist insurance as follows:

“The provisions shall include coverage for the protection of persons insured under the policy who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of injury to or destruction of the property of such insured.”

In other words, uninsured motorist insurance is designed to cover the victim of a car accident where the other driver isn’t insured.

Tip: $30,000 is the minimum UM policy amount.

How Much Will My Uninsured Motorist Insurance Pay?

This is also explained in the statute, and language should be in your policy documents as well. According to the North Carolina Law cited above:

“The limits of such underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage shall be equal to the highest limits of bodily injury liability coverage for any one vehicle insured under the policy…”

In other words, the limits of your policy are the limits for your uninsured motorist coverage. The law goes on to limit the coverage to the policy’s limit to a maximum of $1,000,000 per accident, regardless of whether the policy’s limit was higher, though you may purchase a policy with lower limits.

When Does My Uninsured Motorist Coverage Kick In?

The most obvious example is when you’re struck by an at-fault driver who does not have insurance, but not every state requires insurance. Drivers in Virginia and New Hampshire, for example, are not usually required to have insurance. UM/UIM can also come into play in cases of hit-and-run drivers who flee the scene and are not caught.

Read More: Hit-and-Runs and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

What Does Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage Do?

Underinsured Motorist coverage may be part of your car insurance policy, and may entitle you to the difference between any compensation received from the at-fault driver and the limit of your UIM coverage.

For example, if a driver’s UIM policy limit is $50,000 and they receive $20,000 from the at-fault driver, they might be eligible to collect up to $30,000 in additional compensation, depending on their medical bills and costs and whether the at-fault policy has been exhausted. Unfortunately, even if the bills exceed $50,000, the $30,000 difference between the at-fault driver’s payment and the UIM policy limit is the maximum an injured policyholder could potentially recover.

This is optional coverage in North Carolina.

How Much Will My Underinsured Motorist Coverage Pay in North Carolina?

Whatever your policy’s coverage is (note: the lowest possible UIM coverage is $50,000), up to $1 million. This is also explained by North Carolina law:

“The limits of such underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage shall be equal to the highest limits of bodily injury liability coverage for any one vehicle insured under the policy…”

Essentially, the most a policy can pay is set by the limits of the coverage purchased as long as the amount does not exceed $1 million.

Tip: Just as with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, you may be covered by the Underinsured Motorist policy of a relative or relatives living in the same household.

When Does My Underinsured Motorist Coverage Kick In?

You can seek compensation through your policy if the damages caused by the at-fault driver exceed that driver’s policy limits, leaving you with a shortfall. It’s unlikely the insurance company will be eager to pay – you may want the skill of an attorney in your corner.

If harms and losses from another driver’s negligence aren’t being covered, the uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverages in your policy can kick in.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Insurance Coverage?

Some claims procedures can be strict and unnecessarily complex. For example, if you sign a general release with the other insurance company, you’ve likely lost your chance to collect on UIM coverage through your own insurance company. You didn’t think they wrote the rules in the way normal people speak, did you?

We will negotiate and fight with the insurance company on your behalf. Most insurance companies are for-profit. You didn’t think they were just going to offer maximum possible compensation, did you?

Your attorney can review your policy, and investigate whether the at-fault driver has assets to help. We can also investigate whether there are outside sources of possible compensation. For instance, you may be able to “stack” family members’ coverage on top of yours. You didn’t think the law would be straightforward, did you?

Did You Know? Either insurance carrier might settle with you and then pay the money to your health insurance instead. Aim to walk away with actual money in your pocket, with a skilled advocate on your side.

Cut Through the Complexity with the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

You don’t have to fight the insurance company alone – we can do it for you. They may tell you they’re not going to help you. Tell them you mean business.

U.S. News’ – “Best Law Firms” List for 2023!

Best Law Firms 2023

Firms included in the “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for its abilities, its professionalism, and its integrity.3

You can benefit from the help of an experienced car accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Even if you don’t need to hire an attorney, it is always a good idea to get a free case evaluation from one to get some feedback about your case.

Call us now at 1-866-900-7078  or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

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