Danger on the road is something that drivers contend with everyday. For many, having insurance provides a sense of security that if an accident does occur, money will be available to cover damage to the vehicle and any hospital bills. However, uninsured drivers can put this security in jeopardy. If bills are in excess of what personal insurance covers, unless the injured person has uninsured motorist coverage, they are often left without compensation for the recovery for their injuries, lost wages and suffering. The only hope in this case would be if the person who caused the accident has significant assets, but in most cases there is not much that can be done to help the injured party.
According to an NPR report, the troubled U.S. economy is driving up the number of uninsured motorists. The article notes that “A correlation between unemployment and uninsured drivers always seemed logical, but now the Insurance Research Council has put a number on the phenomenon. “If the unemployment rate goes up by 1 percent, we would anticipate that the percentage of people who are uninsured would go up by three-fourths of 1 percent,” says David Corum, of the Malvern, Pa.-based group.”
The percentage of uninsured drivers right now is 13.8%, which means that approximately 1 in 7 American drivers are currently uninsured! Additionally, some insured drivers are not covered by uninsured motorist coverage, as it is not obligatory in every state. Underinsured drivers can also be a danger on the road.
Uninsured coverage exists to make up the difference between the at-fault driver’s liability limits of coverage and the actual costs of the injury or damage. This type of policy can also provide protection if an individual is hit as a pedestrian. However, since the minimum required limits of liability vary from state to state, which means many drivers have poor coverage. This lack of coverage means that some driver’s insurance may not adequately compensate others involved in an accident.
The following are two ways to maximize your protection from uninsured drivers:
- Make sure to include uninsured motorist coverage when you buy insurance. You will usually be able to buy uninsured motorist coverage when you purchase auto insurance. Make sure that you have an adequate amount of uninsured motorist coverage, which will help compensate you for your injuries if you encounter danger on the road in the form of an uninsured driver.
- If in an accident, check to see if the other driver has alternative auto insurance coverage. At times, an uninsured driver will have coverage under somebody else’s policy. For instance, many young drivers may be covered by their parent’s insurance policy. This is an avenue of recovery that should be pursued if possible.
Know your own policy:
It is critical that you check to see what level of coverage you have on your own policy, or through the insurance policy of another member of your own household.
Of additional note, proceeding with an uninsured motorist claim can be very beneficial, as it may be easier to settle an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance policy than against an adverse insurance carrier. Also, the settlement will usually be for a higher value.
Protection against physical danger on the road is one thing, but you must also protect yourself against the increasing numbers of uninsured drivers. If you believe that you have an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, request a Free Case Consultation to speak with a lawyer.