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Making Sense of Uninsured Driver Auto Accident Insurance Coverage

Feb 24, 2017 - Car Accidents by

car crash injury claim attorney in Charlotte NC

Nobody ever sets out on the road with the intention or prediction that they’ll be in an auto accident, especially with a driver who doesn’t have any auto insurance. You may be a perfectly safe and cautious driver who would never cause an auto accident through negligent behavior, but this does not mean that you will never end up in a collision caused by someone else’s negligence. Unfortunately, getting into an automobile collision that is caused by someone else can leave you in a very difficult situation if that individual doesn’t have auto insurance.
Usually, you have the option of pursuing an auto accident claim with the auto insurance policy of the at-fault driver after a North Carolina car crash. Every driver is required to carry liability coverage and property damage coverage at a set minimum amount. However, there are plenty of drivers who don’t do what they’re supposed to do. They will likely face legal consequences if they are caught without auto insurance coverage, but that doesn’t help you cover your expenses. You can sue the at-fault driver, but there’s a decent chance that they don’t have auto insurance because they can’t afford it, meaning they probably can’t afford any judgment against them, even if you are successful in the lawsuit.

How Likely You Are To Be Injured By An Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
If you’re wondering about the likelihood of ending up in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, you should be aware that almost 10% of North Carolina drivers do not have insurance, and this number might be even higher, since there are probably many drivers who don’t get caught. At the same time, failing to carry auto insurance is irresponsible, and those who are irresponsible are more likely to cause auto accidents. So, you don’t just have to worry about 10% of drivers being uninsured; you also have to know that those are the ones who are more likely to end up in auto accidents through a pattern of irresponsible actions.

Beyond this, there are drivers who don’t have enough auto insurance coverage to address all of the damages associated with an accident, even if they carry the minimum required coverage. This is because auto collision damages can be extremely expensive, and the minimum coverage requirements might simply not be sufficient to cover all of your damages. This is where it becomes prudent to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage on your own automobile insurance. The purpose of this insurance is to protect you and your family.

How Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Can Make A Difference
Drivers in North Carolina automatically receive Uninsured Motorist coverage equivalent to the same amount of their liability insurance coverage. If a North Carolina driver purchases liability coverage over the minimum levels of coverage required ($30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident), then the driver will also automatically receive Underinsured Motorist coverage equivalent to their liability coverage limits. Drivers who purchase only the minimum limits of liability coverage are not eligible to receive Underinsured Motorist coverage. As Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage comes at an additional cost, a driver may elect to forego such insurance coverage, and may also elect to purchase even higher amounts of coverage than that amount they automatically receive. The cost of this additional protection for you and your loved ones is not much, and the benefits are substantial when you or a loved one needs this coverage. We recommend speaking with your insurance agent about coverage options, but generally it is best to purchase the highest level of coverage you can afford. .

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage can address various expenses that are associated with your auto accident, including medical expenses for yourself and passengers. The minimum requirements for auto insurance in North Carolina are $30K of coverage per person per accident, $60K per incident for multiple people, and $25K in property damage coverage. Many people choose to only purchase these minimum amounts of coverage, which is why underinsured motorist auto accidents are so common. It is very likely that your medical expense damages will exceed these minimum coverage amounts, and your Underinsured Motorist coverage will address the difference.

Why Do Some Drivers Fail to Carry Auto Insurance Coverage?
Whenever a driver operates their vehicle without any auto insurance coverage, they put everyone at risk of suffering from the financial consequences of an auto accident. It is illegal to drive without insurance, but many people do anyway. This is because they may have traffic violations that make auto insurance too expensive or inaccessible to them. In other cases, they may not even have a drivers’ license, so they can’t get coverage, and shouldn’t be on the road at all. Then, there are the honest mistakes where a driver thinks they are covered, but have accidentally failed to make a payment or review the appropriate documents.

What Are the Consequences for Not Having Auto Insurance in North Carolina?
If a driver without auto insurance is caught, especially if they are caught because they caused an auto accident, they can face serious consequences. These include the personal liability for damages when they are sued by the injured parties, and the fees and penalties associated with the crime of not carrying auto insurance. In a first offense, they may have to pay $50. If they allow their auto insurance coverage to lapse repeatedly, and are caught, then they will have to pay a fine of at least $150 by the third offense. Some uninsured drivers are even subject to having their driver’s license revoked.

What Other Forms of Auto Insurance Coverage Are Available?
Beyond uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you have some optional forms of coverage that you can consider purchasing to ensure that you are covered, no matter the situation. These forms of additional coverage are not required by law, but most auto insurance companies will provide them on request. They will cause your insurance policy to cost more, but it will be well worth it if you end up in an auto accident that is caused by someone without insurance, and even if you end up in an auto accident that was caused by yourself or by another factor.

One of these is collision coverage, which will address any property damage associated with an auto accident with another motorist or even with an object, such as if you run into a mailbox or a tree. Another optional form of coverage is comprehensive coverage. This addresses any property damage that is caused by the weather, theft, or vandalism. You can also purchase death and disability coverage, custom equipment coverage, medical payments coverage, and more. Discuss your options with your insurance policy provider and be prepared.

Call Brown, Moore & Associates After a North Carolina Auto Accident
If you’ve been injured in a North Carolina auto accident, call a dedicated Charlotte car crash injury lawyer at the Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC to discuss your options for seeking compensation. We will help you to file your claim with the appropriate insurance policy, if one is available; and we’ll help you to file a lawsuit against any uninsured drivers who may be involved. We’re here to answer your questions and help you through each step of pursuing compensation, so do not hesitate to call us and get started on your automobile collision claim.