06 Nov What if I get hit by an uninsured driver?
What if I get hit by an uninsured driver? We are receiving this question more frequently as of late. Whether it is the inability to afford coverage, accidentally letting insurance lapse or knowingly driving without valid insurance, the number of people driving without insurance is increasing. If you get hit by an uninsured driver, there are a few things to know. First, if you have valid auto insurance, call your insurance company immediately to make a claim. Your insurance company will investigate the uninsured driver to confirm there is no active policy for him or her. If the uninsured driver truly does not have auto insurance coverage, you will have to proceed against your own insurance company (caveat, see below).
For your property damage, which includes your vehicle and personal items, your insurance coverage will only pay if you have full comprehensive coverage. Since a majority of people do not have full coverage (liability only), this creates a substantial hardship since you could be out of pocket for repairs, towing and a rental. So if you choose to have liability coverage only, you may consider having an extra few thousand dollars in the event you are hit by an uninsured driver.
If you sustain injuries and you have automobile insurance, your insurance company automatically provides un-insured motorist (UM) coverage. Every policy in Missouri automatically provides this coverage for injuries. The state minimum is $25,000, but you can purchase additional coverage. If you have medical payments (MP) coverage, use MP coverage to cover medical bills.
At this point, you might be thinking what about the uninsured driver who hit you? The Missouri Department of Revenue has a form 1140 which must be filled out and submitted within a year. Typically, the DOR will suspend the license of the uninsured driver until they make restitution. Practically, I leave it up to my clients to decide whether they want to submit this form because typically there is a reason the uninsured driver is driving uninsured, however, is it fair to have no repercussions for driving uninsured?
If you also did not have active automobile insurance coverage, then you are completely out of luck and cannot submit the form 1140. That means no coverage for your vehicle, no rental car, no towing, no storage and no money for your injuries. Missouri has a financial responsibility statute requiring any driver to have automobile insurance. In addition to exposing yourself to a traffic ticket for no insurance, you can expose yourself to uncompensated injuries and property damage.
What should you take away from this post? Do not be an uninsured driver and make sure you have adequate insurance coverage in the event you are hit by an uninsured driver.
Thank you for reading!
Tarun B. Rana, Esq.
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