There are many drivers on the road these days that either have no insurance, or not enough of it. Some states may have as many as 25% of the people on the road in this situation. The last thing you want to do is to have an accident with one of them. This could set you back financially for a long time to come. Medical problems may also go untreated – or not treated the way they should be. This is a very good reason why you need to have uninsured motorist coverage, and underinsured motorist coverage, too.
A number of states recognize the severity of this type of problem and already require drivers to purchase one or both of the uninsured motorist or the underinsured motorist coverages. Many states do not require it, but do allow insurance companies to offer it.
What Happens when You Have An Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist?
If you have an accident and the driver of the other vehicle is either underinsured or uninsured, then claims will still need to be filed. You will need to inform your own insurance company – before the other guy does.
However, the situation is a little reversed from normal after that. Your own insurance company actually becomes the insurer of the other party since they will be paying on behalf of the other driver. This usually means that you need to get a lawyer to act on your behalf so that you get the amount you are supposed to get at the settlement.
How Much Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Needed?
In states where it is mandatory, there are minimums that are established. You will have to get at least that much coverage. In other states where it is optional, you will be able to purchase up to the amount of liability that you already have, but you will want to talk to your insurance agent as to how much is recommended.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage and Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury May Also Be Purchased
Some states also enable you to be insured for property that is damaged by uninsured motorists. At the same time, however, you will also have to get uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, too. These are not allowed in all places.
When you have an accident with an underinsured motorist, the other insurance company will pay for damages up to the limit amounts. Once that has been paid, then your own insurer will cover the amounts beyond that up to your own limits.
A Word of Caution about Settlements
When you have an accident with an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, you need to decide very quickly how you will proceed. If you try and talk to the other driver and work out a settlement, then you will not be able to talk to your insurance company and try to make a claim on your uninsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured motorist insurance is a great thing to have. It really is not optional to those who understand what can happen without it. By having the coverage you need – even if others do not have it – you protect yourself, your family, and your vehicle.