If you have ever been in an accident with an at-fault driver, you most likely filed a claim with their insurance company. As a result of your claim, you received compensation for your expenses. However, what happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your costs or doesn’t have any insurance at all?
According to recent studies, you would be surprised to know that 12.6% of drivers nationwide were uninsured in 2019. Although most states require uninsured motorist coverage, it is still smart to upgrade if your state doesn’t because of the increased chance an uninsured driver could hit you.
Negative Impacts of Uninsured Drivers
Unless you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, it is illegal to drive without insurance. However, this doesn’t stop people from making that decision. There are several ways uninsured drivers can impact themselves and those who choose to insure their vehicle responsibly.
States with high volumes of uninsured drivers make it less affordable for responsible drivers to have insurance. Drivers nationwide paid over $13 billion for uninsured motorist coverage in 2016 due to drivers not having insurance.
Difficult to Recover Compensation
Since the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, you will be footing the bill for your expenses if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage.
Although you can file a claim with your own insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit, the amount of money you receive may not be ideal. Also, if a driver can’t afford insurance, they may not have a lot to offer.
Subject to Legal Punishment
Uninsured drivers run the risk of being penalized for their actions. Penalties vary state to state; however, driving uninsured can cause you to pay fines, lose your license, or even spend time in jail if caught.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
When drivers have uninsured motorist coverage, they are covered if they get into an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have insurance. That means that all your vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering are taken care of.
This type of coverage is also broken down into two types:
- Uninsured bodily injury
- Uninsured motorist property damage.
(1) Uninsured Bodily Injury
Uninsured bodily injury insurance is responsible for covering any medical expenses that you sustained throughout your recovery. Furthermore, this insurance will cover your mental anguish for your pain and suffering as well as lost wages.
(2) Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage would cover any damage to your vehicle if you were in an accident with an uninsured driver. Furthermore, this can cover any other property that was damaged because of the accident. This property could be your home, for example.
Uninsured vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
It is important to note the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage will cover all expenses resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage is reserved for those in an accident with an at-fault driver with some insurance but not enough to cover expenses.
There are currently 22 states that require uninsured motorist coverage and 14 states that require at least underinsured motorist coverage. It’s best to be aware of what your state law says.
What Happens if I Get Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
Standard Car Accident
If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to file a claim with your own insurance company.
After the accident, your insurance company will assess the damages and offer you compensation; however, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit with the at-fault driver.
Hit and Run Accident
In a hit-and-run accident, you will also need to file a claim with your own insurance policy; however, you can’t file a lawsuit unless you have information on who hit you.
How the Process Changes with Uninsured Motorist Coverage
This all changes when you have uninsured motorist coverage. In this case, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover all expenses if an uninsured driver hits you. Furthermore, uninsured motorist coverage views both uninsured drivers and hit-and-run drivers as the same.
This provides a safety net when you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and don’t have any information on the at-fault driver.
How Do I Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If your state doesn’t require uninsured motorist coverage, most insurance companies offer it if you need to make an upgrade. Uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t cost much to add to your policy and can add as little as $5-$10 extra to your monthly payment. However, this depends on your state.
As stated earlier, uninsured motorist coverage costs more in states with high percentages of uninsured drivers. Mississippi, for example, has the highest rate of uninsured drivers at 29.4%.
Fortunately, we have done the heavy lifting for you and provided an unbiased review of the top insurance companies that offer uninsured motorist coverage.
Progressive offers excellent coverage and focuses on saving you as much money as possible. Their coverage ranges and could benefit you in many ways. Examples of coverage they offer include:
- Classic car
- Mexico auto insurance
They also offer several discounts that could decrease your monthly payment. These discounts include but are not limited to:
- Online quote
- Going paperless
- Automated Payments
Geico is another top-rated insurance company. They back up their hilarious commercials with some serious coverage and great deals. What makes Geico unique is their ability to customize a policy for what you need and help you qualify for numerous discounts.
Their discounts include but are not limited to:
- Good student
- Driver’s education
- Good driver (5-year accident-free)
Allstate and their Drivewise program enable policy holders to take advantage of the benefits of safe driving. They have numerous tools and resources that add to a great user experience.
Their discounts include but are not limited to:
- New car
- Multiple policy
- Smart student
- Safe driving club
No matter what insurance company you decide to choose, having uninsured motorist coverage is a no-brainer. This coverage can save you the headaches that come with being hit by an uninsured driver.
You can control whether you are insured; however, you can’t control the decisions of others. With 1 in 8 motorists driving without insurance, having uninsured motorist coverage is an excellent way to play it safe and ensure you’re covered if the at-fault driver is not.