The law says that everyone has to have car insurance. But some drivers don't heed this requirement. If you get into a wreck, and the other driver doesn't have enough insurance coverage, you may not have a way of recovering your expenses from them. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is coverage that you buy that can fill in that gap.
What Can You Do If The Driver Who Caused Your Accident Doesn't Have Auto Insurance?
If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you should call the police — just as you would with any other accident. The other driver may desperately plead for you to not call the police, since they likely committed a crime by driving without insurance. But you shouldn't give in to these pleas. Reporting accidents is usually required by law, and not doing so may prevent you from getting any kind of financial recovery.
If the police arrest the other driver, you might feel justice was done. But you don't get money just because the other driver was arrested. Your only real option for financial recovery is to file a lawsuit in civil court.
Does Suing Uninsured And Underinsured Drivers Work?
One of the most common reasons for not buying car insurance is not being able to afford it. There's a good chance that if you win in court, you'll never be able to collect the money the judge or jury awarded to you. You may spend years collecting small payments on garnishments of the other driver's wages or hoping the other driver wins the lottery to pay you in full.
In the best-case scenario, it will still take months or a couple of years to get paid, since lawsuits take at least that long to resolve. If you're out of work while you recover, that could also cause you serious financial hardship.
What Does Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Coverage Do?
The typical car insurance policy will cover damage to your car, a small amount of personal injury protection, and your liability to others. It usually won't contain much, if any, coverage for extensive medical expenses, lost wages, or disability. That would typically be paid out from the other driver's liability coverage if they were found to be at fault. This is why uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is so important.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is basically buying auto insurance for the other driver. It protects you as if they had been fully insured.
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