When Can You Use Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
December 16, 2020
Every driver is required to purchase a minimum amount of insurance in case he or she causes an accident with another driver. Unfortunately, we all know people break the law every day, including the law requiring insurance coverage.
When a driver has no insurance and causes an accident, victims may be left wondering how to recover the costs of their injuries and other losses. Technically, you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation, but someone who did not purchase insurance is unlikely to have access to enough money to pay for your damages. The cost of treating a serious car accident injury can add up very quickly.
That is why many drivers decide to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. Below, learn more about uninsured motorist coverage and when it may apply. We also discuss underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage and how it differs from uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
It is important to work with a licensed Phoenix car accident attorney after a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. The process for pursuing compensation can be complex, but an experienced attorney will know how to build a strong case for why you should be eligible for compensation.
When Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply?
According to Arizona law, uninsured motorist coverage pays for damages from the bodily injury or death of a motorist if that death or injury was caused by a driver who does not have the minimum required insurance coverage.
For the most part, uninsured motorist claims are filed when the at-fault driver has absolutely no insurance. In this situation, you will have to file a claim against your own policy, whereas in most other situations you would file a claim against the policy of the at-fault driver.
Another situation where you may be able to use uninsured motorist coverage is after a hit-and-run accident, assuming the police cannot locate the driver and the vehicle. Even though someone else is at fault, if that driver cannot be located, you will not know if he or she is insured or where to file the claim.
Sometimes, the hit-and-run driver is found, but he or she does not have insurance. That was likely the reason this person fled the scene of the crash in the first place.
How Does This Differ from Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
It is easy to understand how people may confuse uninsured motorist coverage with underinsured motorist coverage. They both sound similar. Saying someone is underinsured sounds like saying the person does not have insurance.
However, these coverages are used in different situations. Underinsured motorist coverage may be used when the other driver’s coverage runs out before all your damages are covered. If this happens, you may be able to file a claim against your underinsured motorist coverage.
Generally, you cannot use this coverage unless you have more underinsured motorist coverage than the liability limits of the at-fault driver’s policy.
In other words, if you suffer $30,000 in damages, the at-fault driver has $20,000 in liability coverage, and you have only $20,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you cannot obtain underinsured motorist benefits.
What if the At-Fault Driver is Underinsured, But I Do Not Have Enough Coverage?
In this situation, you can either file a lawsuit against the driver or use your medical payments coverage. Medical payments, also known as MedPay, is an additional coverage that is not required by law. However, if you purchased this protection, you can use it to file a claim for medical bills and funeral expenses if a loved one dies from the crash.
You may also be able to seek compensation for damages to your car from the collision coverage in your policy.
Why Do Some Drivers Not Have Insurance?
There are numerous reasons why people decide not to buy insurance. For example, some people may think they are unlikely to cause an accident, so they do not need to bother.
Other reasons for not buying insurance include:
- Inability to pay for it ”“ Sometimes people cannot afford to buy insurance. They may not even be able to afford the minimum amount of required coverage.
- Lack of understanding of what is in a policy ”“ What type or how much insurance is needed is often confusing, so some people may put off buying something they do not fully understand.
- Distrust of insurance companies ”“ Many individuals do not trust insurance adjusters or the companies they work for.
Need Help with Your Insurance Claim? Call Today
At Phillips Law Group, we have nearly 30 years of experience assisting car crash victims in Arizona. We have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on their behalf.
There is no risk to you in meeting with us to discuss how we may be able to help. The initial consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your case.
Have questions? We have answers. Call us at 1-800-706-3000 .
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