How Being Hit By a Falling Object is Sometimes an Uninsured Motorist Claim and How That Can Be A Good Thing

by Faye Counts

A ladder flew off the van traveling in front of me on the highway and it damaged my hood and windshield. I didn’t get any information on the van because I was preoccupied with controlling my car and getting the shoulder safely. A friend told me that this should be covered under my comprehensive coverage, but my insurance company is telling me that this is an uninsured motorist claim. I wasn’t hit by the van. I was hit by the ladder. My comprehensive coverage has no deductible but I have a $250.00 uninsured motorist deductible. What can I do? Heather, Seattle

Your insurance company representative should have explained their reasoning to you by now. We are not in the business of offering free legal advice, but here is what we would tell a friend: don’t fight this decision. You could argue that the ladder fell from the sky onto your car (it sort of did) and the accident therefore is not really a collision, but the ladder fell from a vehicle that then fled the scene. There is someone to blame for your damages, and that person has to be considered uninsured for lack of evidence to the contrary. Sure your deductible might be a little more if your claim is handled under the uninsured motorist coverage (UM) , but the benefits your insurance company will give you by using the UM coverage will be far greater than the comprehensive (other-than-collision) coverage.

First; if you do not have rental car reimbursement coverage on your policy, it does not matter because the UM coverage will provide you with rental car benefits while your vehicle is being repaired. If you do have rental car coverage, there is a time limit on it (usually 30 days) whereas the UM coverage will provide you with a rental car past those 30 days if your vehicle repairs take that long.

Second: if you sustained a bodily or personal injury in this accident, or had passengers who did, you will be able to make a claim for that under the UM coverage. Your claim will include such things as general damages; pain and suffering. You wouldn’t be able to do that if this were a mere comprehensive claim.

It sounds like your insurance company is doing the right thing to take care of you. If you remain unsatisfied by the decision about what coverage to use even after considering this information, ask the insurance adjuster handling your claim to review it with you once again.

This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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