The amount of money your insurance company charges you for coverage each month, known as premiums, is determined by a variety of factors. How much your premiums will cost is typically determined by one overarching consideration: the risk that you pose to the insurance company that it will have to pay a large claim. If you have recently been convicted of DUI, you are considered a riskier driver, and your rates go up. If you’ve recently caused an accident, your rates go up. The reverse is also true. Participating in driver’s education, owning a car with advanced safety features, and avoiding traffic citations all demonstrate a reduced risk to the insurer, and will lower your premiums.
So, it is no surprise that often a client’s face will turn green when I explain that making an Uninsured Motorist (UM) claim requires suing their own insurance company for an accident that was another’s fault. Some clients would rather go without compensation than sue their own insurance company. What’s the main reason for their reluctance? Fear. These clients are afraid that by making a claim for UM benefits their monthly premiums will rise. This fear is irrational, because making a claim for uninsured motorist benefits typically has no effect on one’s monthly premium.
In order to be successful in pursuing a claim for UM benefits, Mississippi law requires you prove that your injuries were caused by an uninsured driver. Thus, the risky behavior leading to the UM claim was typically exhibited by the at-fault party, not the client making the UM claim. The risk that causes UM premium rates to fluctuate has more to do with factors outside of the insured’s control, like the statistical number of uninsured drivers in one’s area. So if you are injured and need to file an uninsured motorist claim, do not let the fear of increased premiums discourage you. Use your UM coverage, because you’ve already paid for it.