The road can be a dangerous place, which is why holding car insurance is a legal requirement to drive. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this law, and in fact, it is estimated that one in seven drivers in the United States is not insured, with some states having many more uninsured drivers than others, such as Oklahoma, Mississippi and New Mexico.
If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you might not be at a total loss. Most car insurance policies offer additional coverage which can provide you with financing in the case you are hit by someone without auto insurance, or if you are hit by someone who leaves the scene of the accident.
There are about 12 states which have “no-fault” laws. This means that no matter who caused the accident, each driver is responsible for their own damages with their own car insurance. Lawsuits are still possible if you are badly injured. If you live in one of these states and are hit by someone without insurance, you will be using your own coverage regardless. States that have no-fault laws include Florida, Michigan, New York, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Being hit by an uninsured driver is much more likely than it should be, and if you live in one of the states that require uninsured coverage, or if you were prepared for this day, this means you will be using your own car insurance to take care of your damages and medical bills. Keep in mind that this uninsured motorist coverage may not be automatically included in your policy, and instead may need to be purchased additionally. Most states do not require this type of coverage, but insurance companies are required to at least offer it.
The amount of uninsured motorist coverage you can obtain from your auto insurance company usually does not exceed the amount of regular car insurance coverage that you have purchased. If you do not have this type of coverage, you will be paying out-of-pocket for your damages.
There are other types of uninsured driver protection you can purchase, such as collision coverage. This provides funding for your vehicle damages after an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This coverage does not cover medical bills or other losses incurred by the accident.
There are also occasions where the driver who caused the accident has insurance, but it isn’t enough to cover your damages. In this case, underinsured motorist coverage would kick in, if it is part of your policy, and cover your losses after the other driver’s coverage has reached the policy limit.
Be aware that many insurance companies put strict deadlines on filing uninsured and underinsured claims, and depending on where you live, this can be as few as 30 days from the accident. Consult with a personal injury attorney, like an MVA accident lawyer in Tampa, FL from Jeff Murphy Law, if you are unsure of the laws in your state, and especially if you have sustained serious injuries that should be followed up with a lawsuit to ensure your losses are fully covered.