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Why you should always have uninsured motorist coverage

According to the Insurance Research Council, an estimated 6.1% of all New York drivers are uninsured. That doesn’t sound like a considerable amount compared to states like Florida and Mississippi, where the rate is 26.7% and 23.7% respectively. However, if you or someone you love is injured in a crash with one of these drivers and you don’t have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, then you may be unable to recover the following:

  • Ongoing medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering

Health insurance and the personal injury protection portion of your auto insurance will cover a lot of the current costs incurred by your injuries, but not future and ongoing damages, such as permanent loss of earning ability. When you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurer will cover damages suffered if you, a member of your household, or a passenger in your vehicle are hurt in a wreck caused by a driver who does not carry insurance. Coverage is also invoked if you are struck by a hit-and-run motorist who cannot be identified or located.

New York State insurance requirements

You must carry state-issued automobile liability insurance to register a motor vehicle in New York. All vehicle insurance policies are legally required to include a certain amount of UM coverage for physical injury, which will cover losses after the other driver’s insurance (provided they carry any) is used up.

What about underinsured motorists?

What happens if you are injured in a collision with a driver who is carrying only the minimum amount of liability insurance required by New York law? Right now, motorists are only required to have coverage for the following amounts:

  • $25,000 for one person’s injuries
  • $50,000 for one person’s death
  • $50,000 for injuries to several people in the vehicle
  • $100,000 for the deaths of several people
  • $10,000 for property damage in a single accident

Depending on the seriousness of your injuries, the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance to cover all the damages to which you may be entitled. This is where carrying underinsured motorist coverage can ensure that you get the benefits you need after the other driver’s liability coverage is used up.

Getting the compensation you need from a stubborn insurance company can add to your post-accident stress, so if you are injured by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver, contact a New York personal injury attorney who will fight any attempted denial of your benefits, review settlement offers for fairness, and go to court to help you recover the maximum amount of allowable compensation. When an insurer reneges on their obligations, your attorney will remind them of their responsibility to pay.

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