Tips for Handling an Accident With an Uninsured Driver
Even though a minimum amount of liability car insurance is legally required in almost every state, there are still drivers behind the wheel without insurance. In fact, according to the Insurance Research Council, about 1 in 8 drivers doesn’t have auto insurance. And even though you’re a driver who follows the rules of the road, you’re still vulnerable to accidents with uninsured drivers.
We’ve laid out how to handle accidents with uninsured drivers and the best practices for filing an insurance claim — giving you the confidence and know-how to take the right steps in the event of the unexpected.
Do’s and Don’ts After You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver
Say you’re sitting at a stop light patiently waiting for the green light when suddenly you’re hit from behind — causing you some serious whiplash and probably some damage to your car. After pulling to the side of the road, you get out to assess your vehicle and talk with the driver who hit you.
The back of your car is smashed in and you’re sensing a doctor visit in the future for your aching neck. The at-fault driver looks panicked — and when you ask him for his insurance information he tells you that he doesn’t have any.
That’s unfortunate, but since you’re a savvy driver, you know to follow these tips on what to do if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver:
Call the police. If you get into a car accident, regardless if the other person has insurance or not, it’s always a good idea to call the police. But if you’re dealing with an uninsured driver, calling the police is even more important, since their report will help get your expenses covered and make the claims process smoother.
Don’t accept money. Since the other driver doesn’t have insurance, they could face some hefty fines and fees — which means they might try to offer you money to avoid legal repercussions. At this point, you have no idea what your damages or injury costs will come to, so even if it seems like a good deal, hold off and don’t accept money.
Swap information. Sure, they don’t have insurance information to give you, but you’ll still want to get their contact and vehicle details. Don’t forget to ask for the contact information from any witnesses as well, since their statements can also be beneficial during the claims process.
Gather details. Get the make and model of the vehicle involved, time and location of the accident, and the name and badge number of the responding officer. Write down any pertinent details you think could help you when working with your insurance company.
Take pictures. You’ll want to capture any damage done to your car and the other vehicle, the other driver’s license plate, traffic signs and the direction each vehicle was traveling. All of these are important details that will come in handy when filing a claim.
Insurance Claims Against Uninsured Drivers
Whew — now that you have all of the information you need, you’ll want to contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident. Make sure you say you were hit by an uninsured driver since that’ll affect the entire process.
Here’s where all of that above information you collected will come into play. Have the following on hand when calling to make a claim:
- Have your insurance card out — you’ll need your policy number.
- They’ll ask for the date, time and location of the accident.
- Remember all those details you wrote down and the pictures you took? Good! You’ll be asked to provide a detailed report of how the accident occurred, so have those with you to make your report as descriptive as possible.
- Typically, the claims representative asks for the insurance info of the other driver involved, but since that’s nonexistent, you can provide the contact information the at-fault driver gave you.
- Given you called the police, you’ll provide the name of the police department involved and the police report number.
At American Family Insurance, we’ll work diligently to make sure the claims process is as smooth, convenient and hassle-free as possible. And since we think it’s best to be a step ahead, check out our in-depth guide to the claims process after an accident to help you better understand what happens when you file a claim.
Were You Hit By an Uninsured Driver in a No-Fault State?
If you’re hit by a driver in a no-fault state, things will be a little different come the claims process. A no-fault state means that no matter who was actually at fault for the accident, it will be your insurance provider who will pay some or all of your medical bills and lost earnings. So whether the driver has insurance or not, you’ll file the claim with your insurance company.
The Best Coverage for Accidents With Uninsured Drivers
You never know when or if you’ll have a run-in with an uninsured driver — but it could happen to anyone. The good news is there’s a way to be proactive about your protection in the event you were to be hit by someone without auto insurance.
Insert uninsured motorist coverage. This is an optional coverage in most states, but it’s such a good idea to have that over 20 states actually require it. What is uninsured motorist coverage? Well, if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance, you’ll be happy you have this coverage, since your insurance provider will step in and help cover costs for bodily injuries to you and your passengers — which is typically what someone’s liability insurance does. It’ll help cover your medical expenses and loss of income, among other expenses.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you could take the at-fault driver to court to sue for these incurred expenses. But this could take time and money with no guarantee you’ll win a settlement — so you very well could be stuck paying out of pocket for any injuries. Hopefully you have collision insurance since this is what would be used to help fix your vehicle.
Having uninsured motorist protection gives you peace of mind when you hit the road. Connect with an American Family Insurance agent to learn more about adding this coverage to your policy. You can also check out how our underinsured motorist protection can provide you with a financial safety net in the event of the unexpected.