Imagine this scenario. You are just driving home from work, minding your own business like normal when out of nowhere you get t-boned on your right side. You are pretty shaken up but otherwise you manage to escape any injury. After the scraping metal has stopped, you get out of your car. You need to see if the other driver is okay but as you head that way, you stop for a second to look at your car. The front and back doors are crumpled by the front fender and grill stuck to your car’s side.
The frame is bent in and you know this is going to cost some serious money to fix. You hurry over to the other driver who seems to be okay and then you’re both standing there, just taking in what happened. The police are likely on their way, especially if the accident occurred during the rush hour home. You speak to the other driver to start the process of information gathering and silently thank your stars for car insurance. That is, until you find out that the other driver doesn’t have any auto insurance.
What? No insurance? How is all of this damage going to be paid for? You start scanning your brain to remember if you ever added that uninsured/underinsured motorist policy to your coverage last year when you visited your agent. You take another look at your car and really hope you did.
Driving Dirty – Uninsured Driving in the United States
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in the U.S. The Insurance Research Council found that in 2009, almost one out of every seven driver did not have insurance. Keep in mind that 49 states (all except New Hampshire) require that all citizens have automobile insurance. Not only are these ‘one in seven’ breaking the law but they are taking a huge risk every time they get into a car.
If they are in an accident, there is no coverage for them if they are hurt or their car is badly damaged and there’s no coverage for the other driver as well. If you have no insurance, some costs to fix your uninsured car is going to come out of your pocket and if you suffer an injury you may be able to collect something from the other driver but it may be a limited amount. It’s best to avoid any kind of headache like this and obey the law. Liability insurance, even the minimum, is better than nothing and can also save you some possible criminal convictions as well as money.
When Driving Clean Is Not Enough: Adding Uninsured And Under-Insured Motorist Insurance to Your Policy
So what about the insured driver? Does that mean they have to pay for everything? It depends on several things but the first and most important thing you can do for yourself is make sure that your full coverage policy includes uninsured and underinsured motorist policies. If someone hits you and causes bodily injuries, you have the right to sue them for damages but if the person that hit you can’t pay for insurance, it’s likely they don’t have anything to sue for either. It would be a waste of your time to take that route.
Your collision policy is going to take care of any damages that occur to your vehicle. You should be familiar with your policy limits and make sure they are high enough to sustain a serious accident. Then add uninsured/underinsured motorist policies. An uninsured driver is someone who has no insurance at all and an under-insured driver is someone who has insurance but the amount of your bodily injury is more than they have coverage for. Let’s refer back to the previous example for some explanation.
We know that the driver who hit you has no insurance and when you leave the scene, you begin to get a sharp shooting pain in your back. It becomes worse and worse and you know that it has be from the accident. You go to the doctor and discover that one of your discs has slipped out of place and they can fix it but it will require an expensive surgery. Not the news you wanted to hear. You call your insurance company to see what you options are. They tell you that your uninsured motorist policy has a limit of $400,000. Luckily, your surgery and subsequent physical therapy is estimated at $275,000 so your treatment will be covered.
Now let’s say that the driver who hit you was under-insured Even though they had enough insurance to meet the state law, they only have $150,000 in coverage. That’s not enough to cover your injuries. At that point, their insurance company will pay you to the maximum amount of that driver’s policy and then your personal under-insured driver policy will kick in the extra $125,000 you need. Imagine being in that situation with no insurance at all. Now that is a scary thought.
Costs of Uninsured / Under-insured Motorist Coverage
You can never predict what another driver is going to do so it’s always best to make the first move and protect yourself. Generally speaking, adding uninsured/underinsured driver policies to your car insurance is not going to cost you that much more and it’s going to provide the peace of mind you need when driving down the road. Be sure to speak with your personal insurance agent today to see what sort of limits are available and will work best for you or just try InsurancePanda.com’s quote engine to compare up to eight quotations from carriers in your area.