Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
With the exception of New Hampshire, every state requires a minimum amount of insurance coverage for each automobile. Unfortunately, many people continue to drive even when they are unable or unwilling to obtain the necessary coverage. The Insurance Research Council estimates that as many as one out of every eight drivers may be uninsured.
Sometimes a driver has the minimum required amount of coverage, but it is not enough to compensate you for injuries and property damage after a car accident. When this occurs, the driver is said to be underinsured. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages protect you in the event that a driver who hits you does not have sufficient insurance coverage to recoup your losses.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
There are two scenarios in which uninsured motorist coverage goes into effect. One is when the driver who hit you has no insurance at all. The other is when you can’t tell for certain whether or not the driver who hit you has insurance because he or she committed a hit-and-run, leaving the scene of the accident before you could exchange information.
There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage: property damage and bodily injury. The former covers you in the event of damage to your vehicle caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. The latter covers your medical expenses for wounds that you sustain in the crash. Many states now require uninsured motorist coverage as part of a comprehensive auto policy.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage does not apply to a hit-and-run. It doesn’t need to, because your uninsured motorist coverage will take effect in that eventuality. The other driver’s insurance will pay as much of your fees as possible until it reaches the coverage limits. After that point, your underinsured motorist coverage will pick up the slack. Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage comes in bodily injury and property damage types.
Some states may require underinsured motorist coverage in addition to uninsured motorist coverage. For customers’ convenience, some policies may combine the two.
Even in states where uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required, it may be a good idea. Your coverage also applies if you are injured in a collision as a pedestrian. It may also help if you have an expensive car or there are a large number of uninsured drivers in your state.
You need to be careful what legal choices you make after a car accident, or you may end up with inadequate compensation and little recourse. Attorneys can help you make good decisions. Contact a law office today.