You faithfully pay your insurance premiums on time, and reasonably expect others to do the same. It can be frustrating then, to be involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured. Unfortunately this is not uncommon. Should you find yourself in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, take the following steps:
Call the Police
It’s always a good idea to summon the police to the scene of an accident, but especially when there’s an uninsured driver involved. Having an official police report will help you get your expenses covered under your own uninsured driver policy. It will also make the claims process more efficient.
Keep in mind, however, that in some cities the police will not arrive to an accident unless you report someone was injured on the scene. If you’re only dealing with minor property damage, you’ll have to do much of the legwork yourself. Take plenty of pictures, including images of the accident scene, the damage to your car, any identifying marks (skid marks, etc.), and any other important details. You can take these pictures down to the police station and ask to file a report later.
Exchange What Information You Have
If the other driver does not have car insurance, you won’t be exchanging this information. However, it’s still important to gather as much information as you can. Get their name, contact information, and license plate number. Keep in mind, however, that they might not want to give you this information if they’re uninsured.
While you’re at it, get contact information from any witnesses, including their names and addresses if possible. These resources could prove valuable to your claims process later on.
Call Your Insurer
When you signed up for car insurance coverage, you likely received underinsured or uninsured coverage on your policy. Your next steps depend on your depth of coverage and the nature of the accident. If you have uninsured coverage, your insurance company can assist you with filing a claim (this is where witness information and the police report will be important).
Seek Medical Care, If You Need It
If you incurred injury in a car accident, take care of yourself. Normally, the other driver’s insurance would have taken care of your medical bills. In this instance, however, you’ll look to your own medical coverage for payment. While your insurer may pay for the bulk of your medical expenses, you may have to pay your deductible out of pocket.
Take Care of Property Damage
Once you’re on the road to recovery, talk to your insurance company and check on the status of your claim. With uninsured motorist coverage, your property damage will fall under the umbrella of your own policy, and your policy will pay for the damages. If your insurance policy is insufficient for the full extent of repairs, you may have to seek compensation through other avenues, such as the court system.
Being involved in a car accident is always stressful, but especially when it involves an uninsured driver. Thankfully, following these steps can make the process as painless as possible.