Navigating the Auto Insurance Maze

Navigating the Auto Insurance Maze


The operation of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage remains one of the most confusing and misunderstood areas of insurance law. Broadly speaking, UM coverage in your auto policy may allow you to recover for damages caused by a negligent driver who does not have insurance, while UIM coverage in your auto policy may apply when the limits of the negligent driver’s liability policy will cover some, but not all, of your injuries. But the applicability of UM and UIM coverage in any particular case frequently requires in-depth analysis of the terms of multiple auto policies, as well as the governing statute, the North Carolina Financial Responsibility Act.

A recent decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals provides a good example of the insurance complexities that can arise from even a fairly simple car accident. The accident at issue in that case, Integon National Ins. Co. v. Maurizzio, involved only one vehicle, but multiple injured passengers. One passenger claimed medical expenses that were well in excess of the vehicle owner’s liability insurance limits. As a result, the Court had to look at not only the vehicle owner’s policy, but also another policy issued to the injured victim’s parents, to determine whether there was UIM coverage available to help cover the excess costs. The case involved interpretation of the “multiple claimant exception” to the Financial Responsibility Act, as well as the relevant policy language. Ultimately, the Court “stacked” the applicable UIM coverage in both policies and found additional coverage available to help the injured claimant.

At Parry & Tyndall, we regularly represent policyholders seeking to recover insurance proceeds that are due to them, including UM/UIM and other claims under auto liability policies. We also associate with counsel representing injured claimants to assess available insurance coverage and to assist in enforcing the policyholder’s rights to that coverage when necessary. If you believe that you, your business or your client has been wrongly denied coverage or has otherwise suffered damages from an insurance company’s failure to live up to its obligations, please give us a call at 919.967.0504 for a free initial consultation.

Alan Parry
Parry & Tyndall, PLLC
Attorneys at Law