What Happens When The Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?

What happens when the other driver doesn't have insurance? If the at-fault driver doesn't have an insurance policy or a policy with only a minimum amount of coverage, their personal assets are put at risk for paying for the damages.

"It's a driver's worst nightmare to be sure - getting hit by someone who doesn't happen to have any car insurance," acknowledges Clark Jackson, President and CEO of Jackson and Jackson Insurance Agents and Brokers in Glendora, California. "Just because the other driver didn't buy insurance, however, doesn't let them off the hook! If the at-fault driver doesn't have an insurance policy or a policy with only a minimum amount of coverage, their personal assets are put at risk for paying for the damages. Your insurance company, your attorney and everybody else will be looking at the at fault driver's property and belongings as a means to cover the costs of vehicular damage and bodily injury."

It is rare, of course, that a driver who doesn't have any insurance will miraculously have the personal assets squirreled away that will be required to compensate you fully for any losses due to an accident. "The fact of the matter is," says Jackson, "that many drivers cannot afford car insurance, even the minimum liability coverages required by state law and, accordingly, drive 'bare'. By doing so, they run the risk of ultimately losing their driver's license and facing other penalties for failure to have insurance that put other drivers at risk for the damages that they, the uninsured driver, cause." The threat of a lawsuit against them, however, means very little to them because they do not have any assets that they need to protect. As if often said, "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip."

These drivers are under the further assumption that local law enforcement is too lax to ever catch them or that they simply lead a charmed life. "For what ever reason they've chosen to skirt their state's requirements for insurance," Jackson continues, "they run the risk of penalties that include revocation of their licenses and car registrations, fines, impoundment and even a stint in jail." To no great surprise, hit and run accidents often involve uninsured drivers and nearly a quarter of all U.S. traffic fatalities are caused by individuals who carry no insurance.

That is why collision and uninsured motorist coverages are an important insurance consideration when you go to purchase a policy. "These policies will compensate you for losses," he says, "where the driver of the other vehicle causes damage to your car and does not have liability insurance to compensate you for your physical injury."

In many states, underinsured motorist coverage is also an available option. "This compensates you for any physical injuries for the difference between your own limits of coverage and the lesser limits of the driver who actually caused the accident," Jackson explains. "In addition, medical payments coverage is a coverage that you can purchase in order to defray medical expenses arising from your accident. Your health insurance will cover a portion of these claims as well."

Protection from an accident caused by an uninsured motorist begins when you first buy your insurance policy. While there are a number of considerations that go into buying automobile insurance - and certainly affordable cost is one of them - recognizing that many drivers do not have insurance and many of them cause accidents should be an important factor when deciding how much coverage will be enough. An accident is a traumatic event. "The last thing you need," observes Jackson, "is to have it made worse by wondering how your car is going to get fixed or how your medical bills are going to get paid."

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