Navigating the complexities of insurance coverage is essential in personal injury cases. One critical aspect that demands attention is resident relative insurance coverage. In the state of Colorado, understanding the nuances of this coverage can be pivotal in ensuring fair compensation for individuals who sustain injuries in accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. This guide written by our car crash attorneys is designed to educate the public on how to navigate resident relative insurance coverage effectively.
Table of Contents
- How Does Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
- What Happens When Your Damages are More than the Available Coverage?
- What Does Resident Relative Coverage Cover?
- What Counts as Proof of Residency in Colorado?
What is a Resident Relative in Colorado?
It seems commonsensical but if you are injured in a Colorado car accident, the negligent driver is responsible for paying the damages, harms and losses suffered by the injured party. Unfortunately, there are times when the at-fault driver does not carry bodily injury insurance coverage or does not carry adequate bodily injury insurance coverage. This is because the State of Colorado only requires the following minimum coverages:
- $25,000.00 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident;
- $50,000.00 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000.00 for property damage in any one accident.
The aforementioned figures represent the maximum a third-party insurance carrier will pay when their insured causes an accident. What happens if the value of your claim is worth more than the Colorado state-minimum insurance coverage?
It is the space between the bodily injury coverage and the value of your damages, harms, and losses where underinsured motorist coverage lives.
How Does Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) Coverage and Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) Coverage works by filling the gap between the negligent driver’s insurance with your damages, harms, and losses from the accident. For example, imagine you suffered $50,000.00 in damages following an accident caused by someone with no insurance. If you carried $50,000.00 in UM coverage, your insurance carrier would cover your damages. The same is true if the negligent driver only carried the state minimum of coverage ($25,000.00). Pursuant to a UIM claim, after the third-party carrier pays $25,000.00, your insurance carrier would cover the remainder.
What Happens When Your Damages are More than the Available Coverage?
Outside of suing the negligent driver directly, you may be able to proceed with a Resident Relative claim. In Colorado, a resident relative is an individual who shares a permanent residence with a named insured or policyholder. A named insured refers to the designated policyholder on an insurance policy and can include immediate family members such as parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and grandparents. Additionally, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even fiancés who reside in the same household as the named insured may be considered resident relatives.
Resident relative coverage is so important in Colorado due to the high number of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the roads. If an accident occurs involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, resident relative coverage can provide a crucial safety net, ensuring that injured individuals receive the compensation they deserve for their
What Does Resident Relative Coverage Cover?
First party insurance coverage typically includes coverage for medical expenses, hospital bills, doctor’s fees, surgery costs, diagnostic tests, and rehabilitation services. It may also extend to cover funeral expenses in the event of a fatality resulting from the accident. The specific coverage limitations and terms will depend on the insurance policy.
Evaluate If You Are a Resident of a Relative
When considering sources of insurance coverage following a car accident in Colorado, it is important to first evaluate the coverage of the negligent driver. If the at-fault party did not carry insurance, or carried minimum insurance, you will want to look at all available first-party insurance coverage, which may include policies in which you are not a named insured. Specifically, it may be important for you to evaluate whether you can be considered a resident of a relative because, if the answer is yes, you may be able to proceed with an additional first party claim.
How Insurance Companies Adjust Premiums & Coverage Limits
Insurance companies take into account the residence of policyholders and their resident relatives because it affects the risk profile and potential liabilities associated with the policy. The location of residence impacts factors such as the frequency of accidents, crime rates, and traffic congestion. By considering where individuals reside, insurance companies can assess and adjust premiums and coverage limits accordingly.
How Can Resident Relative Insurance Be Used?
Importantly, an injured party can collect from their own insurance policy, as well as the policy of a resident relative. Similar to your own insurance, resident relatives can typically collect proceeds from a relative’s insurance policy. In the event of an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the resident relative’s insurance coverage can be utilized to compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages, subject to the policy terms and coverage limits.
What Counts as Proof of Residency in Colorado?
Resident relative insurance coverage plays a pivotal role in personal injury cases, especially when dealing with uninsured or underinsured motorists. Understanding the intricacies of first party insurance coverage, resident relatives, and the importance of location for insurance companies is crucial for personal injury attorneys in Colorado. There are many examples a resident relative first party carrier will consider. These include the following:
- A computer-generated bill from a business (utilities, cell phone, credit card statements, bank statements, pay stubs, hospital bills, etc.);
- Postmarked first-class mail;
- First-class mail from a government agency;
- USPS change of address form (CNL107);
- Motor vehicle registration or title;
- A vehicle lease contract;
- A home mortgage or rental contract;
- A current homeowners, renters, or vehicle insurance policy;
- Other insurance policies;
- A transcript or report card from an accredited school;
- Photographs showing your personal possessions at the relative’s residence;
- Photographs showing a bed at the relative’s residence.
In addition to the foregoing, when attempting to file a resident relative claim, you can also use a proof of residency letter or affidavit of residence. These are sworn statements that a person resides at a specific address. It may be helpful if you and the relative you are seeking to use insurance from executes the affidavit. Finally, most insurance companies will require a recorded statement from both parties. It is important to understand the types of questions you will be asked prior to the call.
Contact a Colorado Auto Accident Attorney
By effectively navigating resident relative insurance coverage, the car accident attorneys at Bowman Law help clients secure just compensation and navigate the complex landscape of insurance claims with confidence. If you have been injured in a car accident in Colorado, contact Bowman Law today to discuss your options, including resident relative coverage. Our attorneys are standing by.