Nearly every state requires drivers to have at least a minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage. Still, there are those who don’t buy even that much car insurance — despite it being against the law. So what happens when one of these uninsured drivers hits your vehicle?
When you get in a car accident, the insurance of the at-fault driver typically pays for the damage. However, it's more complicated when someone without insurance hits your vehicle and damages it or injures you or your passengers.
We will be answering the following questions:
Three steps to take after being hit by an uninsured driver
1. File a police report
You need to start by filing a police report. While you're waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of the accident, get as much documentation as possible. Take photos of the damage, note as many details as you can (including the road conditions and your speed), and exchange information with the other driver.
Even if the accident appears minor, we recommend that you do not try to handle it privately. Damage to your vehicle may be worse than what you initially thought. Additionally, some injuries, like whiplash, may not appear until hours or days after an accident.
If you choose to pay for the damages yourself, there's no guarantee the other person won't come back at a future date asking for more money or saying that the damages were worse than initially estimated.
When the police arrive at the scene, they will take statements from you, the other driver and any witnesses. The officers will also record your vehicle information, name and contact information.
2. File a claim
After filing a police report, your next step should be to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider. Your insurer will pay for the medical bills and property damage sustained to your vehicle, up to your coverage amount.
Don’t drag your feet on this. File the claim sooner rather than later. Most insurers only give you 30 days to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
And if you don’t have uninsured motorist protection, you can file a claim under the collision portion of your policy. The downside is that it won’t reimburse you for any medical expenses and, if you don't have health insurance, those can add up quickly.
It’s important to file a police report and keep all receipts related to repairing your vehicle. Also, keep all records of any medical care you receive as a result of the accident. If you can prove you were injured, it’s much more likely your insurance company will pay out your claim.
On top of that, gather all the evidence you can that the other party is uninsured. Do this as soon as possible after the accident. The more evidence you have against the other driver, the more likely your claim will go through.
3. Press charges
You should file a police report and insurance claim if an uninsured driver damages your vehicle or injures you. Whether or not you take this next step depends on your particular situation and how it pans out.
What if you file an uninsured motorist claim but don't get enough money to cover your repair or medical bills? You may want to take the offending driver to small claims court.
Just remember that sometimes a lack of insurance often means a lack of assets and a solid income. Most experts only advise pressing charges if you think you have a good chance of winning the case. Even then, though, you won’t walk away with anything if the other party has no savings or other assets.
Who will pay for damages in an accident?
Whoever pays for damages related to an accident depends on your state.
States can be classified as no-fault or tort. If you live in a no-fault state, you’ll be good to go. But what if you live in a tort state and the other driver doesn’t have insurance? That’s when you have to worry about the uninsured driver who hit you.
Twelve states are no-fault states. Drivers who live in these no-fault states are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical expenses caused by car accidents. No-fault states also limit lawsuits filed against other drivers for medical costs associated with an accident.
If you get into an accident, you pay for any property damage or injuries that result from the crash. This is true no matter which driver caused it. Regardless of who is at-fault for a crash, you file claims with your own insurance company.
|State||PIP minimum requirement||Lawsuit threshold|
$4,500 per person for medical expenses;
$900 per month for one year for disability or loss of income;
$25 per day for in-home services;
$2,000 for funeral, burial or cremation expenses and
$4,500 for rehabilitation expenses
$10,000 for medical expenses;
$200 per week for loss of income
|Michigan||Drivers have a few options for PIP coverage:
Tort or at-fault states
In tort or at-fault states, the driver who caused the accident has to pay for any damages tied to it. This is true whether or not they have car insurance.
If you live in a tort state, someone needs to be held liable for an accident. You also need to carry third-party liability insurance to protect others.
Even if you decide not to file a lawsuit against the other driver, your insurance company may choose to do so instead.
Should I get uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?
UM or UIM protection is for when drivers without insurance or enough liability coverage hit you. This coverage pays for car repairs, property damage and medical bills.
Based on our research, adding UM and UIM coverage to your policy adds approximately $20 a month to your insurance bill. Given the exorbitant costs of hospital bills, spending an extra $240 per year on UM and UIM coverage is often worth it.
According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately 12.6% of motorists in the U.S. were uninsured. These numbers are why uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is so important. It’s also likely why many states require it.
Most UM or UIM policies won’t allow you to carry more coverage than your liability insurance coverage. So if you have $100,000 worth of liability coverage, that’s how much you’ll have in uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Of course, you can speak with your insurer for more information, as policies vary by insurer.
Do any states require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Twenty states and the District of Columbia require either UM or UIM coverage, or both. Every other state has set UM and UIM as optional coverages.
These states require only uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI):
These states require both UMBI and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIMBI):
These states require UMBI and uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD):
|District of Columbia||$25,000/$50,000|
These states require UMBI, UIMBI, UMPD and UIMPD:
|*New Hampshire only requires drivers to buy this coverage if they decide to buy car insurance. **New Jersey only requires drivers to buy this coverage if they buy a standard policy.|
QuoteWizard.com LLC has made every effort to ensure that the information on this site is correct, but we cannot guarantee that it is free of inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. All content and services provided on or through this site are provided "as is" and "as available" for use. QuoteWizard.com LLC makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation of this site or to the information, content, materials, or products included on this site. You expressly agree that your use of this site is at your sole risk.