How Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Work?
All drivers should have car insurance. Sadly, not everyone follows the rules. If a driver without insurance causes your accident, uninsured motorist insurance can help.
Let’s look at how this insurance coverage works.
What Uninsured Motorist Insurance Does for You
You can buy uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your insurance policy. If another driver hits you, UM coverage helps cover your medical and car repair costs. This coverage also helps if you’re in a hit-and-run.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), insurance companies must offer UM insurance to everyone. If you don’t want the coverage, tell your insurer in writing. In some states, UM insurance also covers passengers or family members.
If you’re not sure about your state options, talk to a lawyer. We can connect you with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer for free. Call (214) 305-8277 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Some states offer underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance — This helps if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage to pay your costs.
We consider a driver to be underinsured if:
- Their insurance doesn’t cover all of your costs or
- Their insurance limits aren’t more than your UM insurance.
After the accident, get the other driver’s insurance policy number and find out what coverage they have. If the driver is underinsured, you still have options.
How Uninsured Motorist Insurance Works in an Accident
If you live in an at-fault state like Texas, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages. If another driver hits you, their insurance company should pay your accident costs. But that can’t happen if the driver does not have insurance.
Without UM insurance, you’d have to pay your own costs. Instead, you can file a claim with your insurer.
Do You Have to Carry Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
It depends on where you live. Most states require drivers to carry auto liability insurance, but UM coverage is optional. A few states require both types of insurance. If you don’t want the coverage, you’ll need to opt-out first.
We highly recommend including UM and UIM coverage. One in eight drivers is uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). That’s a large number of uninsured drivers on the roads. It’s safe to be smart and carry coverage to protect yourself.
Check with your state before deciding on UM coverage. You might need one or more of these coverage options:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
UMBI coverage helps cover medical costs and lost wages when another driver hits you. UMPD coverage helps pay for your vehicle damage after an uninsured motorist accident.
Any UM coverage helps protect you from irresponsible drivers. It’s best to carry this coverage in case you get into a crash that wasn’t your fault.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Insurance You Need
Most experts recommend UM coverage with the same limit as your liability coverage. After all, injuries in an uninsured accident can be just as severe as any crash.
Check your state limits to know for sure how much UM insurance you can have. You might want more coverage to guarantee long-term medical treatment or sufficient vehicle repairs after an accident.
Stacking Uninsured Motorist Insurance
If more than one car is on your insurance policy, you might be able to stack your coverage. The insurance company would multiply your UM/UIM motorist coverage by the number of vehicles you have.
Collision Coverage Versus Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Some states offer collision insurance. This coverage helps pay to repair or replace your car after an accident — no matter who was at fault. Some drivers wonder if they need both collision coverage and UM/UIM motorist insurance.
Although collision insurance helps with vehicle damage, it does not cover medical costs. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have UMBI coverage even if you also have collision insurance.
You might also be able to combine UMPD coverage and collision coverage for your repair costs. However, some states do not allow both types of coverage on one policy.
How to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
To access your UM/UIM motorist insurance after an accident, you will need to file a claim. Here’s how it works:
- Another driver crashes into you. You learn that the driver is uninsured or underinsured.
- You gather evidence at the accident scene and keep track of your damages. The more information you can collect, the better.
- If the other driver has any insurance, you file a claim with their insurer.
- You think the other driver is underinsured, so you contact your insurer. Your insurer might file a claim right away. Or, they might wait for the at-fault driver’s insurer to respond.
- You learn the at-fault driver’s insurance policy doesn’t cover all of your damages. Your insurance company starts investigating the case.
- Your insurance company should pay you for the remaining costs, up to your coverage limits.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are often not fair. Even your own insurance company will look for ways to pay less. Be careful when speaking with your insurer and filing your claim.
The best way to protect yourself is by working with a lawyer. An uninsured motorist accident attorney will know how to support you. They’ll know how to build a strong claim and keep the insurance companies from paying you less.
To know your legal options after an uninsured motorist accident, call a trusted lawyer. Most injury lawyers work on contingency. That means there is no cost to you unless they win you money.
Talk to an Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer at No Cost Today
Did an uninsured or underinsured driver hit you? We can help. Our car accident lawyers are not afraid to fight for your rights. We’ll help you pursue the money you deserve.
We can connect you with the best attorney for your needs during a FREE consultation. To get started for FREE today, call (214) 305-8277. You can also use one of our contact forms.