All motorists are required to carry car insurance in all states except New Hampshire and Virginia. If they don’t, the state can punish them, but that doesn’t help you get compensation. One way you can cover your costs is through uninsured motorist coverage.
How much can you get from an uninsured motorist claim? It depends on your policy and your circumstances. There may also be ways to get more compensation through other means with the help of an Atlanta car accident attorney.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for crashes when the responsible driver does not have insurance. It’s different from underinsured motorist coverage, but insurers usually bundle them together as UI/UIM on your policy. Underinsured motorist coverage pays you when the other driver’s insurance doesn’t pay enough to cover your damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage also covers you when the other driver cannot be found. It is an essential protection if you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident. If your policy doesn’t have uninsured motorist coverage and the responsible driver cannot be found, you’ll have to pay for everything out of pocket.
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Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage a Part of My Policy?
Twenty-two states and Washington D.C. require uninsured motorist coverage. The best way to check if you have it is to talk with your insurance agent. Your policy card may also show it as UI/UIM, UMPD, or UMBI.
UMPD is uninsured motorist property damage coverage, and UMBI is uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. The former covers your car repairs, and the latter covers any injuries you’ve suffered.
If you don’t live in a state where it’s required, insurers will still ask if you want it. It’s a useful addition to your insurance, and it doesn’t raise your premium much. The consequences of getting into a crash without it aren’t worth it.
How Much Can I Get from Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Several factors determine how much you can get from an uninsured motorist claim:
All insurance policies have a maximum amount they’ll pay out called a policy limit. Different states have different minimum amounts for uninsured motorist coverage. Some states say you must set it for the same rate as your liability coverage, which is the best option. Others have lower limits.
Usually, you can also buy more coverage from your agent for a higher premium. The maximum will depend on your insurer.
In some states, there are conditions to get uninsured motorist coverage. California, for example, has a strict maximum of $3500 for uninsured motorist property damage coverage. Other states won’t let you buy UMPD if you already have collision coverage.
Your state may bundle uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage together, and others will let you get it separately, which could mean you have different amounts for different parts of your crash. Your insurer can tell you if there are state laws that put limits on your uninsured motorist coverage.
The Circumstances of Your Crash
Evidence must support the amount of compensation you’re asking to receive. You’ll need to submit your bills to the insurer to show what you’ll need to be paid to get a fair settlement. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the most from your situation.
You cannot claim more than your case is worth, even in a situation like a hit-and-run accident. If you have a $50,000 uninsured motorist policy, but you only suffered $20,000 in damages, that’s the limit you can ask for. That said, if your case qualifies for non-economic damages, a lawyer’s negotiation could help you get a higher amount than your bills suggest.
If your state requires separate property damage and bodily injury policies for uninsured motorist coverage, that can also affect how much you get depending on your policy limits and how much you’re owed for each type of injury.
If the Other Driver Is Found After a Hit-and-Run
If you make an uninsured claim and the other driver is found and has insurance, you can make a claim against their liability policy. If your insurer hasn’t paid you yet for an uninsured motorist claim, they may stop their payment to you until the liability claim is resolved.
If they have already paid you and it turns out you can make a liability claim after the police catch the responsible driver, you don’t have to pay that money back. Your insurer will use a process called subrogation to get paid back from the other driver’s insurer. However, your liability claim amount will be reduced based on how much you’ve received already.
What Are My Options if I Don’t Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you don’t have this coverage and you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may still have some options.
- Your health insurance may cover your bodily injuries, though not all policies will cover car accidents.
- If you have collision coverage, that will cover the cost of your property damage in any accident. However, claims against collision coverage will raise your premiums significantly for a few years.
You can also try suing the responsible driver directly to pay for your damages, but it’s hard to recover money if they have no assets. A consultation with John Foy & Associates can help you explore your options and determine if this path is possible after your uninsured motorist accident.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage already, we strongly recommend it. It makes getting compensation for uninsured crashes much easier. A talk with your insurance agent can tell you how much coverage you need to handle most uninsured motorist claims in your area.