There is little worse after a car accident than finding out that the other driver is irresponsible, foolish, and driving without insurance. The same rules about liability apply. They are still at fault. You are still entitled to have them pay for any damages you incur as a result of the crash. Unfortunately, because they do not have insurance, you would have to sue them personally. You would win. That would be great right? Not so much. If they do not have insurance, they likely have no money. If they have no money, you can get a judgment against them, but essentially all you will win is a piece of paper saying that they owe you money. There are various ways to enforce that judgment, but when a party who never makes much money, owes another party a large sum of money, little of it ever gets paid.
Luckily, that is why Uninsured Motorist Coverage exists. Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance policy that you can add with your own insurance carrier. Its purpose is to protect you in the event of an accident with a driver with no coverage. If you have this type of coverage written in your policy, your own insurance company will pay all the damages of your accident after you prove to them that the at-fault party had no insurance. This gives you a fund that will be readily available to handle time-sensitive matters such as property damage, bodily injury, and damages for emotional harms like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. As long as there are illegal uninsured drivers on the road, you should be paying for uninsured motorist coverage.
Where Underinsured Motorist Coverage comes into play is when you get into an accident, the other driver is at fault, but he or she has low policy limits are you are severely hurt. If the at-fault driver has a policy limit of $50,000; but you have over $50,000 in medical bills alone, it is obvious that you will not be fully compensated by the at-fault party’s insurance because they will simply send you a check for $50,000. Underinsured motorist coverage is a type of coverage that you can add to your existing policy that will kick in if such an event occurred. You would then be able to get the policy limit of the at-fault driver, and then recover the remainder of your damages from your own insurance until you were fully compensated for your injuries.
Commercials on television are constantly attempting to persuade consumers to switch insurance providers because they offer the lowest prices. In reality, insurance companies can offer a wide variety of price ranges. If you only want the minimum coverage that is legally allowed in the state of Utah, you can get insurance for extremely cheap. In Utah, not only are you not required to have uninsured and underinsured coverage. You can also opt-out of comprehensive collision coverage. A bare-bones policy in Utah would be a liability-only policy with limits of $25,000 per person, $65,000 total per collision, or $15,000 in property damage. This type of policy is inexpensive with just about any insurance company out there.
However, it is not near enough coverage for anyone to feel safe driving on the road. What is the point of having insurance if you are not even protected?
Photo By Emily Elstner
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.