Uninsured motorist insurance is a type of coverage that will pay for damages you received in an accident involving an uninsured vehicle or a person who does not have liability insurance. It can be necessary when there is no other driver to cover the costs of certain damages due to an accident.
Uninsured motorist insurance has another, more specific use: it protects drivers from accidents with uninsured motorists, but only when they are found at fault for the accident. If you cause an accident with another car and neither driver has their own collision insurance, each party’s own insurer will cover repairs to their respective vehicles. That leaves no one covering your medical expenses or damage done by debris hitting your car or person.
Another use of uninsured motorist insurance is to cover injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver.
If you were injured in an accident with someone who fled the scene or whose identity cannot be determined, your own uninsured motorist coverage would compensate you for damages and injuries from that specific incident even if you are at fault, as long as it meets your state’s minimum requirements for uninsured motorists coverage. However, suppose you do find the person responsible for your accident (either through their insurance company or police work). In that case, this part of your uninsured motorist benefit will hold true unless they end up not having enough money in assets to cover all damages done by their negligence.
Before you purchase new insurance, though, it’s important to know that the types of damages covered by uninsured motorists vary from state to state. How much medical coverage an uninsured motorist policy provides also varies based on your location and how much money you pay for monthly premiums. In general, however, you can expect higher rates if you add this type of coverage for more accident-related benefits.
Uninsured motorist insurance policies are not designed to cover damage done to other vehicles involved in accidents, only damage resulting directly from the injury caused by a hit-and-run driver or an at-fault accident with another uninsured car or person.
To file a claim against an uninsured motorist, you must first contact the police to give them details about the incident.
The police will take an incident report and forward it to your insurance company if you do not file one yourself (if you were in an accident, for instance) or forward it to a claims representative at the other driver’s insurance company.
Be sure to make copies of all evidence before submitting it to your own insurer–police reports, photos from witnesses, etc.–and keep track of any expenses that resulted from the accident.
Those benefits are usually determined based on what is known as “actual cash value,” which means they cover damage done from a related loss of value rather than new replacement costs. So if, for example, a fender bender takes out the side mirror on your car, it is not likely that an auto glass company will replace it with a brand new replacement. It can also be helpful to contact an uninsured motorist accident attorney.
Doing so would cause your actual cash value to go up even higher than if you were to just pay for repairs and get the damaged part of your car fixed.
All states have minimum requirements when it comes to uninsured motorist coverage. Your benefits will almost always be determined by how much liability insurance the other driver had or how much money they had available in assets (obviously, these facts are hard to determine after an incident). More importantly, however, all states require drivers to carry some type of financial coverage in case another car hits them, or they cause an accident that injures another person or damages someone else’s car.