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Uninsured Drivers: Avoiding Financial Devastation

The Problem with Uninsured Drivers

In the state of Nevada, drivers are legally required to carry liability insurance coverage.  This type of auto insurance coverage ensures that if you are responsible for a collision, you can provide compensation for damages caused to the other driver. In a perfect world, every driver would have adequate insurance to provide sufficient financial protection, both for themselves and for any other driver with whom they may have an all-too-close encounter.

This isn’t a perfect world though, is it?  The fact is that if you are hit by another driver, there is a one in eight chance that they won’t have insurance coverage.  That, of course, doesn’t mean that they aren’t responsible for paying for damages.  But if they don’t have the money to pay for a modest monthly insurance premium, what are the odds that they’re going to have the funds to replace your totaled vehicle or cough up for your medical bills and lost wages?  Or perhaps they have minimum coverage, but it’s not even in the ballpark of what the accident will end up costing.

Basically, you’re left with deciding whether you’ll endure the hassle of taking the other driver to court, which may or may not have a satisfactory outcome, or bite the bullet and take on the financial hardship yourself.  Either way, you’re probably going to lose a lot of money.

Enter Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Fortunately, there is a third option that doesn’t involve you paying potentially tens of thousands of dollars for someone else’s mistake.  Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is used when you are hit by a driver that has insufficient coverage or no coverage at all.  This optional coverage helps to compensate you for damages, up to your policy limit.

What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?

Bodily Injury – If you or your passengers are injured in a collision in which you are hit (the other guy is “at fault”) by someone with little or no auto insurance “liability coverage,” your insurance plan’s uninsured motorist coverage will help you pay for you and your passengers’ hospital bills, physical therapy, pain and suffering, lost wages, and possible other expenses that may result from injury.

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Coverage Limits

To know what to expect from your insurance company in the event of an accident, it’s important that you know the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage.

Limits – In most cases, your coverage will adapt to suit how many people were injured in the accident.  For example, if your uninsured motorist coverage was 25/50, your coverage may cover up to $25,000 for the driver, your 1st number of the uninsured motorist coverage:  25/50, and the 2nd number: 25/50 covers up to $50,000 for the expenses for all persons in your vehicle for total bodily injury or death.

Once again, it’s essential to note that, like all types of insurance, you are covered only up to your policy limit.  If your uninsured motorist coverage is not high enough, and the other guy is at fault, and does not have insurance, this is the point that many “injured” lawsuits happen in which the at-fault person’s assets and future wages become vulnerable.

I Have Health Insurance; Do I Need Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist?

If you have health insurance, you may wonder if there is any benefit to adding uninsured/underinsured motorist to your auto insurance policy.  There are a few things to consider.  For example, health insurance policies do not cover lost wages, there is no out-of-pocket deductible that must be met; it also pays out until your policy limit is reached.  Finally, while you may have health insurance coverage, your passengers may not.  Underinsured/uninsured motorist would cover their medical expenses if they were injured at the time of the accident.

Making a Claim: Will My Rates Go Up?

Even policy holders that have uninsured/underinsured motorist may hesitate to file a claim out of fear that doing so could cause their rates to go up.  Fortunately, Nevada’s insurance laws prevent insurance companies from cancelling or refusing to renew your policy or raising your rate, unless you were responsible for the accident.

Should I Carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Do I Have Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist?

If you’re in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, would you have the means to replace your vehicle?  Miss days or weeks of work?  Pay any resulting medical bills without financial hardship? If not, then it’s likely in your best interest to add this type of coverage to your policy. All car insurance policies are different, and the only way to know whether you have this type of coverage is to check your own policy coverages and levels.

If you need help wading through the legal jargon, please call us for a policy review.  We’ll check for coverage and potential serious gaps in your coverage.

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