Does your car insurance cover every kind of auto accident or damage? You know that you carry the insurance coverage required by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Without insurance, you cannot register your vehicle and you lose your driver’s license. But does your basic insurance policy (state-mandated minimum coverage) cover all contingencies?
Liability insurance applies to any injuries and property damage suffered by other people in an auto accident that is your fault. Liability for bodily injury does not pay for your injuries but protects you from claims against you when you cause an accident. It protects you against claims made by an injured driver for damages incurred in the accident: medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
Property damage liability insurance pays for damage you cause to her person’s property. It pays for damage to the other driver’s vehicle and for other damage to property caused by your vehicle. If, for example, you swerve to avoid two children chasing a ball into the street, and you sideswipe a parked car, this property damage would be covered by your insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Coverage
Uninsured driver insurance coverage pays (up to the policy limits) for damages and injuries caused if you are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This driver would have no car liability insurance. The coverage in your insurance policy fills the gap where the other driver should have carried liability insurance.
Underinsured driver coverage protects you when another driver is at fault in an accident and has liability insurance, but it is not adequate to cover all of the injuries and damages you sustained. Your underinsured driver coverage will pay the difference between the costs of the damages and the amount of insurance coverage carried by the other driver. However, the limits of your policy are determined by the amount of liability insurance in your policy.
No-Fault or PIP Coverage
Virginia is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. However, Virginia and several other states are classified as “add-on no-fault states”, which have a variation of no-fault insurance in which insurers pay first-party claims. You can pay extra to add PIP (Personal Injury Protection) to your policy. This type of insurance pays a stated amount for injuries you or others covered by the policy, regardless of who caused the accident. The coverage limits vary from state to state, but these policies typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, and survivor payments.
Residual Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, typically part of a no-fault policy protects you if you are sued because of injuries sustained in an accident you caused.
Coverage for Your Car
Two types of coverage for your car or vehicle are available in most policies. Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle when it collides with another vehicle or object (tree, mailbox). Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from most causes other than a collision. Examples include hail damage, theft, broken windshield, or flooding. Your deductible determines the amount you must pay for these repairs before the insurance begins to pay.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover a Hit-and-Run Accident?
From an insurance standpoint, there is a difference between you leaving the scene of an accident and someone else leaving the scene of an accident.
If you cause an accident and leave the scene of the crash, your liability insurance will typically cover injuries sustained by the other driver and passengers up to the limits of your policy. However, this coverage may not be available to you if your policy includes a requirement that you not leave the scene of an accident or if you have failed to comply with other requirements of your policy.
If another driver hits you and leaves the scene of the crash, you may not know the identity of the other driver. In this case, insurance payments will come from your insurance. If the other driver was at fault and was negligent, your bodily injury coverage will not apply because you were not at fault.
If someone hits you and leaves the scene, your uninsured driver coverage and your collision coverage should cover your injuries and damages. Uninsured driver coverage covers you if you are hit by an uninsured driver. It also covers you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Keep in mind, however, that most policies have very strict policy requirements you must meet in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover a Crash with a Driver whose Insurance has Lapsed?
As you probably know, car insurance policies have an expiration date. Beyond this date, the policy is no longer in effect. Typically, renewal notices will be sent to you notifying you of the deadline to avoid the policy being canceled. The reminders may also offer a “grace period” of additional time to pay for the policy and still be in effect if you are in an accident. If you fail to pay the premium by the final date, the policy will lapse. A lapsed car insurance policy is not a policy – you will have no insurance.
If you are involved in an auto accident with another driver whose insurance has lapsed, your injuries and damages must be addressed under the terms and limits of your uninsured driver coverage. Keep in mind that the policy limits for payment will be determined in keeping with the amount of your liability insurance. It is important to keep this in mind when you purchase your car insurance policy.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA for legal advice and representation for your Virginia auto accident. Bettina Altizer and her team of experts have been helping people recover maximum compensation for their injuries and losses for more than 30 years. They understand that rebuilding your life after an accident requires time and effort. They understand that your recovery is about the money.