More uninsured/underinsured drivers put everyone at risk when they are responsible for an accident that causes harm to others. When an uninsured driver is liable in an auto accident, and your insurance is inadequate, you are the loser. According to a recent article in the Insurance Journal, the number of uninsured drivers has increased nationwide.
If you think for a few moments about the costs of medical care in the event of a serious injury or in the event of an injury that requires extended therapy and rehabilitation, you will likely understand risk created by uninsured or underinsured drivers.
- When an uninsured driver causes an accident, those injured in the accident must rely upon their own insurance company to pay for their hurts and harms.
- In the case of an underinsured driver, there may not be adequate insurance coverage to pay for all of the hurts and harms suffered by other people involved in the accident. Your insurance company will then be responsible for the costs that exceed the coverage limits of the responsible driver’s policy.
To this point, it sounds simple enough. The complication is the policy limits of your uninsured driver coverage. The amount your insurance company will pay is determined by the amount of coverage you have in your policy for uninsured driver coverage.
A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) and co-sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group, found that 13 percent of all U.S. drivers were uninsured in 2015. This was an increase from 12.3 percent in 2010. Between 2003 and 2010, the number declined from 14.9 percent. Thus, in 2015 roughly one driver in every eight has no insurance.
Forty-nine of the fifty states in the U.S. require every driver to have car insurance. The number of drivers without insurance varies from state to state, ranging from 4.5 percent (Maine) to 26.7 percent (Florida). In Virginia, 9.9 percent of drivers are uninsured.
Your Car Insurance Coverage
At the beginning of this post, I asked you to give some thought to the costs of medical care in the event of a serious injury or in the event of an injury that requires extended therapy and rehabilitation. Now, think about the long-term cost of a permanent injury that will require years (or a lifetime) of medical treatment, therapy, lost wages, assistance, and pain and suffering.
You cannot anticipate when an accident will occur. Nor can you control the driver that will cause an accident that involves you. What you can do to protect yourself is to carry adequate bodily injury coverage in your car insurance policy to protect yourself.
But what is adequate? Although we have heard of insurance agents who will tell their customers that $100,000 is adequate coverage for both bodily injury and uninsured/underinsured drivers. It is important that your bodily injury and uninsured driver policy limits be the same. After sitting on the other side of the accidents and the hurts and harms for more than 25 years, my advice to any driver is that your coverage limits today should be at least $500,000, and more if you can afford it.
Your insurance needs may vary from the average depending upon the amount and type of driving you do and your risk of being involved in an accident. Coverage limits should be discussed with your insurance agent at every renewal. If you are in doubt, call us and ask about the current average cost of an auto or truck accident and the short-term and long-term costs of care for someone seriously injured in an accident.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C. Our team of experienced experts work hard for every client to ensure the best possible outcome on their behalf.