Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald
In the state of Wyoming – as opposed to the state of South Dakota – insurance companies are not required to offer underinsured coverage to its customers according to recent decision from the Wyoming Supreme Court.
An injured motorcyclist was not fully compensated by the driver who caused an accident because that driver's insurance coverage was inadequate so the motorcyclist sued his own insurance company seeking underinsured coverage. The motorcyclist claimed he had requested "full coverage" when he bought insurance so underinsurance coverage should have been included.
In the motorcyclist's insurance policy, however, there was no underinsured coverage. It wasn't there. Accordingly, the question for the Wyoming Supreme Court was whether the motorcyclist's insurance company had violated Wyoming law by not including underinsured coverage in the liability policy it sold the injured motorcyclist.
The Court held that there was no violation of the law as an insurance company is not required under Wyoming law to offer underinsured coverage. Wyoming statutes do not require insurance companies to offer underinsured coverage.
Furthermore, there was nothing in the insurance policy to suggest underinsured coverage existed. Since the injured motorcyclist had not read his policy, he could not argue that he had a "reasonable expectation" of underinsured coverage even if he had requested "full coverage."
What's the lesson – in Wyoming, you need to ask for underinsured coverage and then read your insurance policy to make sure you have purchased it. Insurance companies are not required to offer it to you. It's not automatically included in the liability insurance you buy to pay for damages you cause others.
As many have said many times, underinsured and uninsured insurance coverage is really quite inexpensive. You need to buy it – be sure you have it – because about 20% of the drivers in our country have no insurance or very little insurance so the odds are good you will need this coverage.
If you want to be certain that you will be compensated for your injuries and damages when somebody else causes an accident and hurts you – it's essential that you have your own underinsured and uninsured coverage in place.
Buy it today, please!
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