What happens if an uninsured driver hits me?
Who pays for the damage?
That’s a savvy question, because many people are not aware that the liability part of an insurance policy applies when a driver is at fault in an accident. That driver’s liability coverage would apply toward the other driver’s expenses related to property damage and/or injury. So if you are hit by an at-fault, uninsured driver, you won’t be able to rely on his or her insurance to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your property or to pay toward your medical costs.
What’s your own exposure to risk?
In one state, as many as 26% of drivers are unlikely to have auto insurance. That means that a bit more than a quarter of the drivers you share the road with today, in that state, do not have the insurance to pay for damage or injury they may cause. The national average is not much more reassuring: About 13% (or one in every eight drivers) are driving without insurance. You can find out your own level of exposure to uninsured drivers. Check out these state-by-state uninsured driver stats from the Insurance Information Institute.
The smart answer to the uninsured driver question
Your own policy can help cover you for damage and/or injuries caused by an uninsured driver. Most states require you to have at least some Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage, which is in your best interest. Here are a few things to think about.
- How much coverage does your policy give you? Is the amount enough to cover you if you are badly injured and/or require a lengthy hospital stay and are out of work for weeks or months? If not, investigate what amounts of coverage are available.
- Some states may combine Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury coverage and Underinsured Bodily Injury coverage into a single coverage. That means the coverage would also step in to pay toward damage or injuries if you are struck by a person without enough insurance to meet your costs. The same advice applies: Check your current coverage limits and make sure you are comfortable that they would be adequate in case of a major accident.
- Your state may also require you to have Uninsured Motorists Property Damage coverage. This coverage would pay toward the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged or destroyed vehicle or other property. If your state does not require you to have this coverage, it may require you to specifically waive coverage in writing when it is offered (we suggest you don’t do that). Other states may require it to be offered to you, but do not require you to accept it (you should!). In most cases, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your coverage limit would pay to replace the cost of your current vehicle.
Plan for the unexpected
While you can’t control other people – and that includes uninsured drivers – you can control your exposure to the risk of loss. Check your current coverage and think about the costs that you could incur if you are hit by someone who cannot reimburse you for the damages. Then talk to an insurance professional about what coverage limits would be best for your situation.
Our Risk Coaches are licensed insurance professionals who are trained to look at coverage from your perspective. They’re glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Contact your local Risk Coach™ professional or call us at 800.342.5342, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.