Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers are far more common than you might expect. One in eight drivers on the road doesn’t have insurance. That’s why you should have uninsured motorists coverage on your policy to protect yourself and your vehicle in case you get in an accident with one of these drivers.
If the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, then hopefully you do. That way you can file the claim against your own insurance under the uninsured motorist statute.
Let’s take a deeper look into how this works and what you should know about car insurance policies pertaining to accidents with drivers who don’t have insurance coverage.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage in Virginia
Virginia does not require drivers to have insurance to register a vehicle. Instead, drivers can pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500 at the time of registering the vehicle. They’ll be eligible to drive the vehicle without citations for 12 months. But this arrangement won’t cover expenses if the driver is involved in a collision with another vehicle.
Likewise, because Virginia takes this flexible approach to car insurance, policies are not required to include uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage. You should talk to your insurance agent about ensuring you have this on your car insurance policy to protect yourself in case you face an accident with a driver who chooses to operate a vehicle without insurance.
Many insurance companies also allow you to choose various limits for your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Consider what amount of coverage would protect you in case of an accident and avoid policies that only offer minimum coverage.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Additionally, your car insurance policy might include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This provides payment for medical bills regardless of fault in a car accident. But once again, this is an optional addition to standard insurance policies.
Some policies refer to PIP as MedPay. Coverage under PIP or MedPay is limited but can help you recover from an accident with a driver who has no car insurance. It applies to both medical bills and missed work or lost wages due to injuries you sustained as part of a car accident.
Suing the At-fault Driver for Damages
Ultimately, the driver who hit you is responsible for the ensuing bills and damages regardless of whether they have car insurance or not. They are the ones who chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle without adequate coverage to do so.
You can pursue a lawsuit against that person. The challenging part about this is, it generally takes several months or even years to recover damages in these situations. And even once you get a decision from the courts concerning your case, payments are generally in the form of wage garnishments, which can take years to receive enough money to cover your expenses.
Claiming the Accident on Your Car Insurance Policy
Finally, you can claim the accident on your car insurance policy. Some clients are apprehensive about this option due to the impacts it can have on their premiums. But minor premium increases will be far better than having to pay all expenses out of pocket after a car accident.
Some car insurance companies will reject the claim because another driver was at fault. Or they might question the necessity of your medical care. No matter the challenges you face in dealing with the car insurance company, you should discuss the matter with a car accident attorney.
Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates for a free consultation. During these initial discussions, we can work with you to find the best way to pay for your accident regardless of whether the other driver has insurance or not.