How to Protect Yourself Against Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

A car accident involving two vehicles. A white sedan rear-ending a silver pickup truck.Despite New Hampshire being the only state in New England that does not require minimum mandatory car insurance, the number of uninsured or underinsured motorists on the road remains surprisingly high. If you’re unlucky enough to be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, although you’re not at fault, you’re still at risk of suffering substantial financial losses. Fortunately, there are some policy options to protect yourself against uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Receiving Compensation from an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

According to the Insurance Information Institute, despite the widespread auto insurance requirements, nearly 13% of all drivers remain uninsured. If you should fall victim to an accident by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be left with a considerable amount of medical bills and repair costs. Since uninsured motorists may not have the compensation to cover your expenses, you’ll have to rely on your insurance for help, which might not cover the entirety of your losses. This results in you having to file a lawsuit against the uninsured or underinsured part, ending in legal fees that may not produce results.

What Insurance Policies Can Keep You Protected?

Fortunately, with the right auto insurance, you can receive the compensation you need in the event of an accident with an uninsured motorist. Some specific policies that can keep you covered can vary by insurer, but your options generally include:

  • Uninsured Motorist Insurance: Massachusetts residents are required to carry a minimum of $20,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, but this policy is not required in all states. This will cover damage to your vehicle as well as your medical cost up to the limit.
  • Personal Injury Protection Insurance: Some states – like Massachusetts and New York – have no-fault laws which require drivers to cover their medical bills up to their personal injury protection policy limits, regardless of who’s at fault.
  • Collision Insurance: Collision insurance typically provides coverage to accidents caused by the policyholder. However, if you’re involved in an accident caused by a driver not carrying liability insurance, this policy can help pay for your vehicle damages.

You can talk to your insurance agent to find out if you can invest in higher coverage limits for these policies to ensure you’re fully covered in the event of an accident.

Steps to Take After an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?

Regardless of coverage, you should still take these steps after an accident to ensure you’re protected and adequately compensated:

  • File a Police Report: Law enforcement will collect vital information and evidence from the scene. This provides a record of the accident and helps determine who’s at fault.
  • Undergo Medical Evaluation: While you may feel fine, adrenaline can keep soreness at bay and conceal serious injuries. If treatment is needed, be sure you’re taken care of immediately.
  • Contact Your Insurer: Report the accident to your insurance company and inform them of the insurance status of the other driver. They will inform you of your claim options and send you the appropriate paperwork.
  • Work with an Attorney: You may have to pursue a lawsuit with the uninsured driver in an attempt to receive some compensation. A trusted car accident attorney will inform you of your next steps.

Protecting yourself against uninsured or underinsured motorists requires some research into your state’s ordinance and calculating the coverage needed to safeguard your finances. Since this can be complicated for the layperson, it’s best to reach out to your independent insurance agent for advice. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can assess your risk and make sure you’re outfitted with the right auto insurance to keep you fully protected. If you’re concerned about uninsured or underinsured drivers on the road, contact us today.