Uninsured, Underinsured Motorists Coverage And Who Should Have It
And that means if you are victimized by an uninsured or underinsured driver, the accident likely will be just the start of your problems.
Despite every state requiring vehicles to have at least some minimal amount of liability insurance protection to pay the costs of damages or injuries that might be inflicted upon others, the rates of people who drive with no insurance at all is as high as 26 percent in some states.
And in some places, such as Detroit, the rates of motorists with no auto policies can be as high as 50 percent or more.
In such instances, being involved in an accident caused by someone with no insurance coverage or not enough to cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed property or footing the bill for the costs of medical treatments and potentially lost income is a burden borne entirely by the victim.
But if protected by uninsured and underinsured motorists policies, the insurer will pay the difference between what the offending driver can pay, which often times is nothing, and what the aggrieved party would have gotten had the driver been properly insured.
Another instance in which such coverage can save a great deal of cost and personal anguish is when involved in a hit and run accident.
In such an instance, the offending motorist simply leaves the scene in violation of the law, and there is no way to track down the guilty party and seek redemption.
Uninsured, underinsured policies will pay up to policy limits in such instances.
States with the highest rates of drivers who have no coverage are Mississippi with 26 percent of vehicles not properly insured followed by Alabama and California each with about 25 percent of vehicles not protected in accordance with state laws.
New Mexico, 24 percent, Arizona, 22 percent, and Tennessee, 21 percent, round out the top five.
Nationally, about 14 percent of accidents are caused by people with no state-mandated protection, and about 16 percent of vehicles lack coverage, according to the California Department of Insurance.
If involved in an accident with someone illegally driving with no mandated auto policy in place, the victim typically must file a lawsuit in hopes of being reimbursed for costs, but having the additional protection of an uninsured and underinsured motorists plan is much more affordable and effective.
So if living in a state or community with a high rate of people driving illegally, it pays to have the additional insurance in place.