January 22, 2017

What to do BEFORE you get hit by an uninsured motorist

My assistant blogger had the unfortunate experience of being hit by an uninsured motorist. Learn from her experience.
It's not unusual to get in a fender bender in the winter, and most motorists know what to do if this happens. Exchange insurance information, document it, etc. But, what happens if you're hit by an uninsured motorist?
First be proactive. BEFORE you get hit by an uninsured motorist check and make sure your insurance covers this. Likely it does, even if you only have liability insurance. Check the coverage limits and make sure to add this protection if you don't already have it.
Our insurance, for example, had a $250 deductible with a $3500 maximum for uninsured motorist property damage. So, if we were driving a car worth more than $3500, it might be worth it to increase the maximum property damage amount.
*Note that our insurance had no deductible for bodily damage caused by an uninsured motorist. The maximum insurance would pay for bodily damage was $100k per person up to $300k per accident. To put it another way, bodily and property damage can have two different maximum pay out amounts and different deductibles as well. Check your coverage and make sure you're comfortable with the amounts covered and the deductible.
With an uninsured motorist, it's very important to document, document, document! Make sure to get the other driver's contact information, driver's license, and vehicle information, etc. use your cell phone to take photos of vehicles, license plate, their driver license. If the damages are more than your deductible, consider filing a claim with your insurance company, but only if the damage exceeds your deductible by a substantial amount. That’s up to you to decide, keeping in mind that insurance claims often result in higher premiums for years. Will the compensation from your insurance justify potentially higher rates for years to come?

Also, note that one should call the police even for a minor fender bender. Driving without insurance is illegal and most uninsured drivers risk having their car impounded after an accident. Assuming you're the one hit by an uninsured motorist, the more documentation you have the better for you and your insurance company.
It is possible and legal to settle without using insurance. However, a driver without car insurance is unlikely to have the money to pay for damages so make sure you're covered before you get in an accident!

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