What to Do if You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver
Last Updated on November 8, 2021
Colliding with an uninsured driver can be confusing and stressful.
Nearly 1 in 7 Americans drive without insurance. In an accident, there’s a good chance the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, then there are steps to take to protect yourself, repair your vehicle, and receive the compensation you are owed.
Keep reading to discover what to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.
- The First Steps
- How to Complete an Insurance Claim Against an Uninsured Driver
- Who Was At-Fault?
- Collisions with Uninsured Drivers in No-Fault States
- Does My Insurance Cover Collisions with Uninsured Motorists?
- Consider Adding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- Some States Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- You Can Sue the Uninsured Driver for Damages
- Final Word on Being Hit by an Uninsured Motorist
The First Steps
Immediately following a collision with an uninsured driver, you need to take certain steps. Here’s how a typical uninsured motorist insurance claim begins.
Step 1) Call the Police
After a collision with an uninsured driver, start by calling the police.
The other driver may seem panicked after the collision. When you ask to swap insurance information, the other driver may tell you they don’t have insurance. Regardless of how the other driver acts, you should call the police.
The police officer will create a report. Your insurer uses this report to complete your insurance claim. The police report is crucial for any insurance claim. It’s a verified record of how the accident took place, including the accounts of each driver.
Step 2) Don’t Accept Money from the Other Driver
The other driver doesn’t have insurance, so they might offer a quick cash solution instead. The other driver may offer you $500, for example, to keep the record off the books and repair damage to your vehicle.
Making a cash settlement may be fine for smaller accidents with minor damage (say, a fender bender). However, you’ll want to make a formal claim for more serious collisions.
In any case, it’s a bad idea to accept a cash offer from the other driver – especially if the other driver is uninsured. You don’t know how much it will cost to repair your vehicle, and you don’t know the extent of your medical bills. Even if it seems like a good deal, don’t accept money from the uninsured driver.
Step 3) Get the Other Driver’s Information
The other driver doesn’t have insurance, but they still have contact information, a license plate, and other personally identifiable information.
Collet all of the following information from the other driver after the collision:
- Phone number
- License plate number
- First and last name
- Make and model of vehicle
Step 4) Get Contact Information from Any Witnesses
Witness statements can change an insurance claim. Ask around for any witnesses who observed the collision. Get their contact information. The police may ask the witnesses to contribute to the report.
Alternatively, some drivers record witness statements on their phones after a collision. At the very least, collect details from any witnesses in the area who observed the accident.
Step 5) Collect Other Details
At this point, you need to collect as many details from the scene as possible.
Collect the badge number and name of the responding officer or officers.
Record the time of the accident, the intersection or street where the accident took place, and any other details you believe are relevant.
Step 6) Take Photos and Videos
The more photos and videos you take, the better.
Although you may not need all of this evidence, it’s better to have it – just in case you need to prove something about the scene to your insurance company.
Take photos of the damage to your vehicle. Take a photo of the damage to the other vehicle.
Take a photo of the other driver’s VIN number (it should be on the windshield in front of the driver), the license plate, traffic signs, the direction each vehicle was traveling at the time of the accident, the traffic lights where the collision took place, and all other relevant details.
How to Complete an Insurance Claim Against an Uninsured Driver
You’ve collected all of the details you need to make an insurance claim. Now, it’s time to complete the insurance claim by contacting your insurance company.
To make a claim, you’ll need:
- Your insurance information, including your name and policy number
- Your notes, photos, videos, and other evidence from the accident scene
- Details about how the accident occurred
- The other driver’s information, make and model of vehicle, license plate number, and other relevant details
- Police information, including the name of the police department assigned to your accident, the names and badge numbers of the officers, and the police report number
Make sure to tell your insurer you were hit by an uninsured driver. It changes many aspects of your claim.
Who Was At-Fault?
Depending on who was at fault for the accident, your uninsured motorist insurance claim will vary.
The Uninsured Motorist Was At-Fault
In most states, you make a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
However, because the uninsured motorist does not have insurance, it works differently for collisions with uninsured drivers.
If the uninsured motorist was at-fault, then you contact your own insurance company and inform them you were in a collision with an uninsured driver. At this point, you have multiple claim options:
- Make a claim through your collision coverage, pay your deductible, and have insurance cover the rest
- Make a claim through your uninsured motorist coverage to cover any medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses incurred in the accident
Collision coverage is optional in all states, and uninsured motorist coverage is optional in most states. If you don’t have collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, then you may not be able to make an insurance claim after your incident with the uninsured motorist.
You Were At-Fault
If you were at fault for the accident, then you still contact your own insurance company to report the accident.
In this case, the other driver would also make a claim through your insurance company for any damages suffered during the accident.
However, some states have ‘no pay, no play’ laws that prevent uninsured drivers from obtaining compensation after an accident. Because the other driver did not have insurance, the other driver is not entitled to compensation after the accident, even though you were at fault.
Collisions with Uninsured Drivers in No-Fault States
If you were hit by an uninsured driver in a no-fault state, then the claims process will work differently.
Roughly a dozen states in America use a no-fault insurance system. That means you make a claim through your own insurer regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
If you were not at fault for the collision, then you make a claim through your own insurance company regardless of whether the other driver had insurance.
The 12 no-fault states include Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
Does My Insurance Cover Collisions with Uninsured Motorists?
Car insurance policies come with a coverage option called uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage compensates you after an accident with an uninsured motorist.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, then your insurance may still cover part of the claim. Collision coverage, for example, can repair costs to your own vehicle (after you pay your deductible).
However, you may need to sue the at-fault driver for any expenses you incur. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying out of pocket for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses after the collision.
Consider Adding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Millions of Americans drive without insurance every day. Approximately 1 in 7 drivers do not carry insurance. In some states, including Florida, nearly 25% of drivers do not carry car insurance.
For all of these reasons, it may be in your best interest to add uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers all of the following after a collision with an uninsured motorist:
- Medical bills and ambulance expenses
- Vehicle repair costs
- Other costs you incur after a collision with an uninsured motorist
If you collided with a driver who does not have car insurance, then you’ll want to have uninsured motorist coverage.
Some States Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Some states require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Nearly half of all states require you to carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, for example. Some states require you to carry both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for uninsured motorists.
In states that do not require uninsured motorist coverage, many drivers carry it for added peace of mind.
States that Require Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.
States that Require Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
You Can Sue the Uninsured Driver for Damages
In some cases, it’s in your best interest to sue the uninsured driver.
You cannot make a claim through the other driver’s insurance (because they don’t have insurance). However, the other driver is still liable for any damages they cause you to incur. That means you can file a lawsuit to obtain compensation.
In a perfect world, you would sue the other driver, receive compensation, and close the case.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Typically, people who drive without insurance have few assets to seize. You could file a lawsuit, but you’re unlikely to receive compensation to cover costly medical bills or vehicle repair costs.
For all of these reasons, many drivers choose to carry uninsured motorist coverage.
Final Word on Being Hit by an Uninsured Motorist
If you were hit by an uninsured motorist, then you can make a claim through your own insurance.
Contact your insurance company to make a claim through your uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage.
Nearly 1 in 7 drivers in America are uninsured. Consider added uninsured motorist coverage to your policy for protection and peace of mind.