What Type of Claim is Covered by Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage?
The law requires that all insurance policies written and issued in Maryland contain uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance coverage can apply to a variety of different situations- not all of which are defined in the policy of insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory under Maryland law- unless the individual purchasing the insurance, in writing declines, the coverage. One would think that if they are driving your car down the road and somebody hits them, then flees the scene, there would automatically be insurance coverage for that event.
That is simply not true. There may be uninsured motorist coverage, but the process is more elaborate, and the requirements are more stringent.
Substantive Maryland law, in the Insurance Article, provides that if the identity of a motor vehicle and the driver cannot be established or if the identity of the vehicle owner is known, but the driver is unknown and did not have the owner's permission, there will be uninsured motorist coverage so long as the individual making the claim has exhausted all efforts to establish the identity of the motor vehicle its owner and driver. Similarly, an individual causes an accident, then flees the scene, and despite all reasonable efforts the person making the claim cannot identify the driver of the owner and is unable to determine, despite all reasonable efforts, if the motor vehicle has insurance there will be covered under the uninsured provisions of the applicable motor vehicle policy.
Note the requirement of the exhaustion of all reasonable efforts. Simply stating that a vehicle fled the scene might not be enough, for example, if there are witnesses that have not been consulted that may possess identifying information.