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Uninsured or Under-insured Drivers Insurance
Though Auto Insurance is a requirement and all states have laws encouraging drivers to purchase at least minimal Auto Insurance package, unfortunately there are cases when drivers either cannot afford buying Car Insurance or tend to ignore this requirement altogether. Some drivers can also have insufficient Car Insurance coverage. Uninsured and underinsured drivers do not only expose themselves to problems and danger, but also entail risk to other drivers on the road.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage is considered a voluntary Auto Insurance type. There is no state obligation to purchase it. However, the growing number of vehicles and traffic statistics has resulted in several states include extra coverage in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver into their basic Auto Insurance requirements.
Many drivers underestimate the necessity of obtaining Uninsured or Underinsured motorist insurance or opt to purchase small amounts of Uninsured Motorist. It is when these drivers get in accidents and find they have to pay for the damage to their car or their own injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist that they start realizing how important it is to carry an adequate amount of this Auto Insurance type.
Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage pays for injuries caused to a policyholder or passengers in his/her car resulting from an accident with a driver who is responsible for the injuries, but has no liability coverage or his/her insurance coverage has low limits. This Auto Insurance type will also pay in case someone is injured in an accident with a hit-and-run car.
A person carrying Uninsured Motorist coverage can count on his/her insurance company to compensate damages caused in an accident by an uninsured driver or a driver who chose to buy just the minimum insurance required by their state law.
In order to collect your uninsured benefits, it is essential to confirm that the other driver was uninsured and actually was at fault for the accident. The injured party should produce evidence, for example, a statement from the driver's insurance company verifying an absence or lack of insurance.
Call the police the first thing after the accident. Get a copy of the accident report. Your condition after the accident should be evaluated at the emergency room. It is also necessary to keep a record of all witness names, addresses, telephone numbers, and take accurate notes about the accident.
If the at-fault driver is unidentifiable, you will have to prove that you were struck by a hit-and-run driver. In order to do so, contact the police and your insurance company, gather witnesses, take pictures of your car, and go to the hospital to get your condition evaluated and receive medical help. It is very important that you get immediate medical care and follow the doctor's advice in order to determine the extent of your injuries. Your own statement, witness statements, police reports, and of course specific damage to your vehicle will serve to prove your case in order to file a claim with your insurance company.
Proving that the hit-and-run driver's car made physical contact with your vehicle is essential to prove your claim. An accident caused by reckless driving that does not come into physical contact with your car is often not covered by uninsured motorist policies.
However, if the cause of the accident raises arguments, it is doubtful that you will get the uninsured motorist benefits for your damage or injuries. In this case you are recommended to hire an attorney who will help you present your claim to the insurer. Get ready that your own driving skills, weather and road conditions, as well as other circumstances will play an important role in the investigation and final decision. In complicated cases you might need to have an arbitration hearing or file a lawsuit.
If you get in an accident with Underinsured driver, remember to contact an experienced lawyer and abstain from settling with the other driver's insurance company. Get expert advice before you actually settle your claim. When collecting underinsured motorist benefits, you will collect the at-fault driver's policy limits before getting compensation under your own insurance policy. An insurance company will get a credit (set-off) for any recovery sum under the underinsured motorist's policy.
For instance, if a driver who carried $50,000 in liability insurance caused you severe injuries totaling $100,000, after collecting the at-fault driver's $50,000 policy limit, you then proceed against your own insurance company for your remaining damages. However your insurance company will pay you only $50,000 of your $100,000 policy limit as it is entitled to a $50,000 setoff of the amount you received from the other driver's policy.
You are advised to carry as much Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage as you can afford. An average driver chooses to purchase $100,000 of liability coverage, and only $20,000 of Uninsured motorist coverage. If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault for the accident, the insured driver will only be entitled to receive a maximum of $20,000 for his/her losses, though the losses are likely to be considerably higher.
Under some policies, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage is stackable, which means that a person can add together either insurance coverage from several policies or insurance coverage for several cars listed on one policy. You may select stackable coverage when you purchase the insurance.