What Happens if You Get Hit By an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?

Posted on Sep 19, 2017

What Happens if You Get Hit By an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?

Different states have different laws in place to protect you, as a driver, from other motorists on the road. One of those is a minimum requirement for auto insurance. In New Jersey and in New York, all drivers on the road are required to carry a certain amount of liability coverage to protect other drivers from their actions behind the wheel.

The sad truth is that the state minimum requirements may be woefully inadequate to cover the amount of damage done to your vehicle. Of course, that only matters if the other driver has the state minimum if any, insurance coverage. When you get hit by someone who has no insurance or too little insurance, different things will happen depending on which state you live in.

New Jersey and Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

New Jersey state law requires a motorist to carry liability insurance for damage or injury to third persons. The minimum required is $15,000 per individual for bodily injury, $30,000 total per accident for bodily injury regardless of how many persons were injured, and $5,000 for damage to property of another. Chances are if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver – or even a driver who has basic (state minimum) insurance coverage, you will find that their coverage may be inadequate to cover the costs of your damages and repair needs.

That is why it is so important for you, as a responsible driver with a vested interest in keeping your car in good repair and on the road, to invest in protecting yourself with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Even drivers with standard insurance policies may only have a limited amount of liability protection that requires added protection from your insurance company.

Your own insurance policy will contain coverage for you if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

A vehicle is considered uninsured in five circumstances: (1) when there is no policy in force on the date of the accident; (2) when the other driver’s insurance company disclaims coverage; (3) when the other driver’s insurance company becomes insolvent or declares bankruptcy; (4) when the other vehicle is a hit and run vehicle; or (5) when the other vehicle is covered by a basic policy.

A vehicle is considered underinsured when the sum of the liability limits under all policies available to the other driver at the time of the accident is less than the limits for underinsured coverage on your insurance policy.

New York and Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists

The state of New York requires certain state minimums when it comes to auto insurance, including a $10,000 minimum for property damage liability and $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in an accident. We all know that this isn’t sufficient coverage in the case of any serious accident and may leave the driver of the other vehicle covering his or her own costs for repairs and medical expenses.

That is, of course, unless you have supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance protection. It is worth noting that this coverage does not start until the liability coverage of the other driver is exhausted, or if the other driver has no insurance coverage at all. Most insurers allow you to purchase up to $250,000 per person per accident and up to $500,000 per accident though some providers will allow you to purchase greater amounts and that is certainly not the minimum amount of coverage available.

Navigating the tricky roadways of auto insurance coverage can be confusing. That is why it’s important to work with a trusted agency, like Otterstedt Insurance Agency, to help you get the right coverage to meet your needs throughout New Jersey, New York, and whatever roads you may travel. We are committed to keeping your insurance needs covered and have been since 1919.

Contact us if you have any questions about getting in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

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