August 28, 2017
If you purchase car insurance in Indiana, your policy is required to include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage unless you choose to reject that coverage in writing.
However, many Hoosiers don’t know what uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage does, so they may be tempted to reject it to save money on their policy. But what is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? Is it worth including on your policy?
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: A Closer Look
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage are technically two different parts of your policy that cover you in different circumstances, but they are usually presented together for purchase.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your damages in the event that the driver who hit you has no insurance. The policy can also be used in the event of a hit-and-run.
Underinsured motorist coverage pays the difference if your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Indiana is a fault state. That means that, in a typical car accident in Indiana, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for most (if not all) of the other driver’s damages and injuries.
But when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you’re left with few options. That’s where uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage comes in.
In Indiana, your minimum liability limits for uninsured motorists is $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury for uninsured motorists, $50,000 for underinsured motorists, and $10,000 for property damage. Typically, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage isn’t allowed to exceed the coverage you carry for your own liability.
Although you may have to pay extra for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it’s usually fairly inexpensive. The additional expense can be as cheap as the monthly fee of a music streaming service or a couple cups of coffee a month.
What Are Your Options Without Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
In Indiana, you’re legally required to demonstrate financial responsibility in the event of an accident. For most people in Indiana, that means purchasing car insurance. Only the independently wealthy have the option of not purchasing car insurance in Indiana if they can demonstrate that they would be able to cover another driver’s damages in the event of an accident.
However, most uninsured motorists in Indiana aren’t independently wealthy. They’re breaking the law by not having car insurance because they cannot actually cover another person’s damages.
With that in mind, you could sue the driver personally if they don’t have car insurance, but remember that people who don’t have car insurance aren’t typically secret millionaires. It’s likely that any damages you have would be too expensive for the at-fault driver to handle personally. Your lawsuit may drag the at-fault driver into bankruptcy, but regardless of whether or not you win, it’s unlikely that you’d be able to recover any monetary losses from the accident.
You may still be able file a claim with your own insurance company even without uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. However, you may be penalized with higher premiums for filing a claim, even though you weren’t at-fault in the accident, and your insurance company may not cover all of your damages, leaving you to pay for any leftover expenses out of your own pocket.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
Because uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is so inexpensive, and because going without it can lead to high out-of-pocket expenses, Hensley Legal Group highly encourages all Indiana drivers to add the coverage to their insurance policy.
Maybe you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but the insurance company is still giving you the run-around after your car accident. If you’re having trouble getting the compensation you deserve, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.