August 06, 2014 @ 12:00am

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

While every responsible driver takes care to provide for the proper amount of automobile insurance coverage, there is a large and growing community who choose to ignore this responsibility.

Having an accident with one of these people can be an expensive headache. The other driver may not even have the means to repay you for his or her mistake. That's where “uninsured motorist” insurance can play a vital role. Here's what you need to know:

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

An estimated one in eight motorists are either completely uninsured or under-insured. In either case, the negligent driver can’t pay for the damages and you end up stuck with the bill. In general, uninsured motorist coverage will pay any medical bills associated with the accident that exceed your own coverage.

This coverage applies to uninsured drivers apprehended at the scene, “hit and run” drivers never caught and even drivers who have an accident with you in a stolen car. An important point to remember is that, in most states, the damage to your car is not covered if they don’t have insurance and you would have to file a claim with your insurance company to get it fixed.

What Should You do if involved in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

The first step that anyone should take in an accident is to determine if anyone is hurt. If so, get an ambulance to the site ASAP. After that, start by calling the police and then taking notes. Ask for the driver’s insurance information. You need a license plate number, the driver's name, photos of the scene and a list of any witnesses.

While this process may not yield any results in the long run with uninsured motorists, it will help to prove that the other driver was at fault. With any luck, you can keep everyone at the scene so that a documented event will take place. Once the police officers arrive, it’s out of your hands, so cooperate as much as possible, and ask them for as much information as possible about the other party.

The Bottom Line

Even though you have met your legal and financial responsibilities, other drivers may not be as responsible. Simply put: in order to fully protect yourself it’s wise to invest in uninsured motorist coverage. 

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