It’s been estimated that nearly one-quarter of the drivers on the road in California don’t have any auto insurance and that one-third are “underinsured”. What happens if you are driving and get in a collision with an uninsured driver or if you’re a pedestrian hit by a driver with no insurance? The same question arises for passengers of buses and taxis in collisions with a driver who has not bothered to get auto insurance. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, who pays for the medical bills and/or damage to a vehicle caused by an uninsured driver?
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
If you carry enough “uninsured motorist insurance”, you can rest easy. The purpose of such insurance is to cover your losses in these types of circumstances. Your own insurance company is required to pay compensation up to the amount of the insurance policy, depending on your damages.
For example, if you are involved in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist, how will you collect damages? Let’s say you end up with $20,000 in medical bills, $15,000 in property damage to your vehicle, the party at fault has no insurance, no assets to collect a judgment from and perhaps isn’t even locatable. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you could be left without any recourse.
However, if you do have uninsured motorist coverage, your costs and damages may be covered. Uninsured motorist coverage is not very expensive. In California, uninsured motorist coverage is automatically included when you buy an auto insurance policy unless you specifically take action to opt out of it. Having $1,000,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage is advisable.
When the Other Party Is Underinsured
Even when the other party has insurance, the policy may not be enough to cover all of your damages. If you have uninsured motorist insurance (UMI), you may be able to recover the balance of remaining damages from your own insurance company.
Ask Our Attorneys about Uninsured Motorist Insurance
If all of this sounds a bit complex to you, you’re not alone. We are experienced at dealing with auto insurance companies, insurance policies (with and without uninsured motorist coverage) and any legal claims arising from motor vehicle accidents. Please feel free to contact us today with questions. As always, we’re happy to provide a complimentary consultation.
If You’ve Been in an Accident
Do not accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without talking to us first. Auto insurance companies are in business to make money rather than pay it out in claims. They may try to settle your case quickly and to their benefit by offering a settlement amount that is far lower than what is appropriate and fair