Car accidents cause pain and trauma, and cost money. When you’re involved in a car accident, you just want the subsequent problems to go away. You want your whiplash, your constant headaches, the medical bills, and the memories of the day to disappear. But what if you’ve been hit by an uninsured motorist?
Insurance should at least alleviate the financial stress caused by medical bills. However, when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured party, you end up paying for medical bills stemming from someone else’s mistake. You take on stress that can cause mental health problems, all because someone else did not follow the law.
Your current auto insurance should already include uninsured motorist coverage. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about uninsured motorist claims.
What Are Uninsured Motorist Claims?
If you sustain an injury in a car accident or damage to your property in a car accident that is not your fault, then the party at fault should pay for the damages and medical bills. Typically, that party will have liability insurance. All states require drivers to have liability insurance on their vehicles so that if they cause an accident, their insurance will pay for the damages.
However, not everyone follows the law. If you have an accident with an uninsured driver, then you will be responsible for covering the cost of repairs to your property. You will have to pay for your own medical bills as well, even though the uninsured motorist caused your medical problems and property damage.
Once you’ve encountered an uninsured motorist, you need to make an uninsured motorist claim to your car insurance company. You need to make the claim as quickly as possible. Some insurance companies have imposed time limits hidden in the policy of 30 days in which you can make a claim.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Defined
Uninsured motorist coverage is coverage that you have with your automobile insurance. It will replace the coverage the at-fault driver should have had, which covers your property damage and bodily injury.
The at-fault motorist may have insurance coverage, but not enough to cover your medical bills or property damage. Experts refer to this problem as an underinsured motorist.
Your uninsured motorist coverage can fill in the gap between what the at-fault driver’s insurance covers and the overall cost of medical bills and property damage.
Thus, uninsured motorist coverage kicks in with the following circumstances:
- You’re not at fault for the accident.
- The at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover all of the property damage and injuries.
- The at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident and does not leave insurance information
Currently, several states require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage in addition to liability coverage on their vehicles. Illinois in particular requires uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, meaning your insurance will cover your medical bills if the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
You do not want to find yourself on the wrong side of an automobile accident with no insurance to cover your needs. Few people have the pocket cash to replace their car on their own or pay for expensive medical bills caused by a car accident.
Plus, the unexpected bills lead to unnecessary stress, and this makes recovering from an accident even harder.
So even if your state does not require uninsured motorist coverage, you should protect yourself from the uninsured motorist. Consider where you live as you think about this coverage. If you live in a state where drivers commonly drive around without insurance, you need this coverage.
Check to see if your current automobile insurance policy offers any protection against uninsured drivers. You want a policy that offers protection for bodily injury. Both medical payment insurance and personal injury protection will cover bodily injury.
You also want to make sure your collision coverage will cover property damage if someone else is responsible for the damage. If so, then you do not need uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist property damage coverage.
Once you begin the process of talking to your insurance company about this coverage, you will quickly discover that uninsured and underinsured coverage does not add much more to your regular insurance premiums, and yet it will cover a wealth of financial hardship should you find yourself in need.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Under-insured motorist coverage looks similar to uninsured motorist coverage. It kicks in when the at-fault motorist does not have enough insurance to cover your medical needs and property damage.
For example, if you’re innocently driving a car, and someone with an SUV runs a stop sign and broadsides you, they should be responsible for the damage done to your vehicle as well as the medical bills from your bodily injury.
Let’s suppose your medical expenses exceed $50,000, and the value of your property damage was $10,000. If the SUV driver’s policy has only $25,000 for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage, you will find yourself with medical bills in excess of $25,000 and $5,000 short of replacing your vehicle.
If you have under-insured motorist coverage, then this policy would kick in, and your insurance would cover the difference in medical bills and property damage. You could replace your car and pay the hospital.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, or if you’re having problems with uninsured motorist claims, contact an attorney with experience in car accidents.
A car accident attorney will help you receive the financial coverage you deserve so you don’t struggle with paying for a new car or find yourself under the weight of medical bills.
If you’re injured in an accident that is not your fault and the responsible party does not have insurance, contact Brent Eames. He can help you find justice and the financial compensation you deserve.