What happens if I am in an accident with an uninsured motorist?
Across the country, 14 percent of drivers are uninsured. In Washington State 18 percent of motorists are uninsured! If you are hit by a driver without car insurance and you don’t have uninsured motorist property damage coverage, then you will need to sue them for damages (and hope they have something to give) or pay for the expenses yourself. If you are injured by an uninsured driver and don’t have medical insurance, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection, you could end up paying for your own hospital bills. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver and don’t have collision coverage, you could end up paying your own car repair bills.
Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage is designed to provide compensation when your insured vehicle is damaged by an accident with an uninsured vehicle. Each state sets a limit on the coverage; some are as high as the cash value of the car and some are as low as $3,500 or less. Some states have deductibles ranging from $200-$500 but many have no deductible.
If you have collision coverage, uninsured motorist property damage coverage may only pay your collision deductible amount, or may not be available to you at all. Ask your insurance agent for details.
Is uninsured motorist property damage coverage mandatory?
You may be required to carry uninsured motorist property damage; depending in which state you live. It is optional coverage in Washington State. Many states have laws regarding uninsured motorist property damage coverage and either have it as required coverage or require it to be offered, but can be rejected in writing. A few states don’t even offer it at all.
Note that collision coverage may cover you for some damages even if the other driver is uninsured. Also, uninsured motorist property damage alone is not enough to cover all potential car repair/replacement costs; it is also only good in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Collision coverage costs more but it also protects you if you are at fault in an accident.
How much uninsured motorist coverage should I buy?
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM) is usually sold in matching amounts to your liability coverage. If you choose to buy a lesser amount than your liability coverage, your insurer will typically require that you sign a waiver noting that you were offered the higher amount.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!