Legal Guide

Uninsured vs. Underinsured Motorists and Their Legal Issues


What happens if you're in a car accident and the driver that caused the collision doesn't have liability coverage or has limited coverage?

Uninsured or underinsured drivers can cause significant financial strain on accident victims. That's why it's a good idea to have special insurance for drivers who aren't insured to protect you in the event of a wreck.

How Does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

If you're involved in a wreck that you weren't responsible for, you can usually file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This claim will provide you with the necessary funds to repair or replace your car. It should also cover your medical bills and lost wages if you had to take time off work to recover from the accident.

However, if a driver hits you and doesn't have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance to cover the accident, things are a bit different. Yet, you can still get the funds you're entitled to if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

If you get into a car accident in the Augusta area, it may be best to contact an uninsured motorist attorney serving Augusta. A qualified attorney can examine the details of the accident to help determine whether or not you're entitled to a settlement for damages and injuries. Also, a legal expert can help you deal with the insurance companies.

What Is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist coverage will help you pay accident-related expenses if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have an auto insurance policy. In some states, this type of insurance is included as a single coverage on your insurance policy.

There are different definitions of "underinsured" depending on the state. Usually, a driver is considered underinsured if their insurance policy isn't enough to cover the other driver's medical expenses or damages.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when you are in a collision with a driver who does not have enough liability coverage to take care of your medical bills if you are injured.

Usually, the liable driver's insurance will pay for damages up to the limit of the auto insurance policy. However, your underinsured motorist coverage could cover any excess amount up to your pre-selected limits.

Which States Require Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Most states will require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage, but other states mandate both uninsured and uninsured motorist coverage.

Drivers in New Hampshire are not required to have auto insurance. However, if you purchase automobile insurance in the state, you must have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and underinsured motorist coverage for bodily injuries.

You don't have to have uninsured motorist coverage if you're a Rhode Island resident if you have the state minimum limits for bodily injury liability coverage.

In Virginia, you don't have to have car insurance if you can provide evidence that you can pay for any medical bills or damages after a car accident. However, if you decide to purchase insurance, you are required to get uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as well.

Types of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is divided into two main categories: property damage and bodily injury. Bodily injury insurance covers you and all people in your vehicle for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses if you get into a wreck with someone who is uninsured or has limited insurance.

Med Pay or medical payments coverage or PIP (personal injury protection) may not be enough to keep drivers from having to use uninsured or underinsured bodily injury insurance. In some states, these insurance coverage variations are required and included automatically for every car listed under the policy. In other states, coverage is optional. There, if you want underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, you must add it separately to your auto insurance policy.

Seek Legal Help

Dealing with insurance companies can be complicated and risky. If you take a wrong step it can be to your detriment. Having a lawyer on your side can help protect your rights and steer you clear of any hidden insurance traps.

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