Carrying auto insurance is required by law in North Carolina and nearly everywhere else in the country. Knowing this, you’d think everyone would have coverage. You can’t always count on other people to do the right thing when it comes to their insurance. So what happens if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have any or enough auto insurance?
GET THEIR INFORMATION
Assuming the uninsured (or underinsured) driver stopped after the accident, go ahead and get their information. You won’t use it quite the same way you would for other claims, but it could come in handy when you talk to your insurance company or if you decide to take them to court later. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, your insurance company will want the other driver’s information if you have it.
DON’T TAKE CASH
A driver with no insurance may offer cash to make the problem go away. They’ll likely say something like, “We don’t need to get insurance companies involved.” Do not accept cash at the scene of the accident. There’s no real way to know the cost of the damage to your vehicle until a mechanic inspects it, and injuries tend to show up after the accident.
DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
Some uninsured motorists flee the scene, while others are honest enough to stop. Whichever situation you find yourself in, document the accident. Take pictures or record video with your phone to show where the accident happened and how your vehicle was damaged. Write down details about the when and where of the accident as well as the make, model, and type of the vehicle. Always call the police to file a full report even if the other driver didn’t stop or they’ve begged you not to.
FILE A CLAIM
As long as you have UIM coverage as part of your auto insurance, you can file a claim as you normally would. When the driver has no insurance, your policy will pay the costs of your damages and your medical expenses from the accident. When the driver has some but not enough insurance (underinsured), your policy will pick up the costs their insurance won’t cover. Filing under your UIM insurance means your premiums won’t go up. If you file without this coverage, if your insurance provider even lets you, your premiums may increase.
SUE OR PAY OUT OF POCKET
Without UIM coverage, your only options to take care of the damage to your vehicle or any medical expenses is to sue the other driver or pay out of pocket. Assuming you can win a lawsuit, you may never see any money from them. If they can’t pay for insurance, you have to wonder if they’d pay damages from a lawsuit. It’s more likely that you’ll pay out of pocket and the cost could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.
The best way to handle being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver is to protect yourself with a good auto insurance policy. Make sure your policy includes UIM coverage so you never have to wonder what you’ll do after an accident. Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today. We will be happy to go over your options for UIM coverage and get you estimates so you can choose the right policy for you.