Auto accidents are no fun. What can really hurt is when you discover that the other driver doesn’t have even the minimum auto insurance coverage required by law. The fear of being left to handle the bill on your own is not insignificant if you’re in an accident with uninsured motorists, but it doesn’t have to be the way your story ends.
Isn’t Everyone Required to Carry Auto Insurance?
The truth is that most U.S. states (New Hampshire and Virginia being the exceptions) have laws requiring drivers to have auto insurance coverage on every vehicle they own and operate. However, many drivers do not carry the required insurance coverage in states where it is required. Unfortunately, people who do not buy this coverage often lack the funds required to pay for damages to your vehicle or your medical bills out of pocket. This leaves lawsuits against them as exercises in futility.
What Happens When the Other Driver Isn’t Insured?
In the immediate aftermath of an accident with an uninsured driver, the procedure is pretty much the same as with any other accident. You assess for injuries and seek emergency care if necessary, contact the police, exchange information with other driver(s), contact your insurer, seek non-emergency medical treatment, and then repair your automobile. Upon discovering that the other driver is uninsured, contacting your insurance provider may take on a new sense of urgency.
Each state has different laws related to auto insurance coverage and the potential penalties for failing to have this critical protection. You have the option to sue if you’re involved in an accident in which the other driver does not have auto insurance. The odds of you collecting on that lawsuit, even if you win your suit and a judgment is awarded in your favor, are very slim.
That doesn’t leave many options as far as most drivers are concerned. However, there is something you can do that will protect you and your financial interests if you are involved in an accident with uninsured drivers. Buy uninsured motorist insurance.
What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist protection covers your repairs and medical expenses if you’re involved in a car accident with no insurance coverage on the other car or driver. This means that you will have insurance protection from drivers who carry no insurance, but only if you buy this type of coverage.
Here’s the kicker. It isn’t required in most U.S. states. In fact, only a handful of states require you to carry this type of insurance even though most states require insurance carriers to offer it.
The bottom line is that more than 12 percent of drivers on the road today are uninsured resulting in nearly $2.6 billion dollars in uninsured motorists claims. This means that it is more important now than ever to have adequate uninsured motorist insurance coverage to protect you, your vehicle, and your passengers from other drivers on the road.