While every driver is legally required to have insurance when they get behind the wheel, many people skip out on policies that protect other people on the road. If you get in a car accident with an uninsured driver, and that driver is at fault, you won't be able to file a claim with their insurance.
Even drivers with insurance may be underinsured, meaning that their coverage simply isn't enough to take care of all your expenses. This is when your personal uninsured motorist coverage kicks in. Here's a quick guide to how it works.
In a simple breakdown, uninsured motorist coverage allows you to make a claim with your own insurance to make up for the other driver's inability to do so. You must be able to prove that the uninsured driver was responsible for the crash, usually by showing they were acting negligently leading up to the accident. It's important to note that you cannot make a claim under this policy if you were at fault for the collision.
Some states legally require that you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage attached to your own insurance policy. You can check if your state lands in this category with a quick Google search. If you are not legally required to have the coverage, it will be an option to add to your current policy. Since it is not included with your usual coverage, uninsured motorist coverage usually costs a bit more. Despite this, it can save you big if you are ever in an accident with a driver who has no insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Versus Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While frequently lumped together, uninsured and underinsured coverages are not the same thing. The main difference is that one can cover you when a motorist has no insurance, and the other only kicks in when the other driver's insurance fails to cover all your damages. If you only have underinsured motorist coverage, you cannot file for a collision with a totally uninsured driver. Your state may mandate that you have one or both of these policies. You can ask your insurance company for advice on which to get.
Getting hit by an uninsured driver can make for a big headache on your road to recovery, as our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen explained. Discuss your situation with a lawyer if you are having difficulties getting insured or if insurance will not consider paying compensation because the other driver is uninsured. You may be able to find other sources of revenue for your settlement yet.