It’s stressful enough to get into a car accident. But what if the other driver has no insurance?
Or worse, what if you’re involved in a hit-and-run — left on the side of the road with injuries sustained by an accident that wasn’t your fault, yet with no one to blame? If it’s someone who’s not even from Fond du Lac or the surrounding area, you’ll likely never see them or their vehicle again.
Defending Yourself Against Uninsured Drivers
In most cases involving an accident where the other driver is at-fault, you’d file a claim with their insurance company. Compensation would be provided via the other driver’s liability insurance — a mandatory type of insurance that all Wisconsin drivers must have.
But when the at-fault driver has no insurance (which is actually illegal) or fails to stop at all after the accident (also illegal), you are the one who has to foot the bill. You’ll have to pay for any injuries you or your passengers incur and any repairs to your vehicle.
Unless … you have uninsured motorist coverage.
How Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage Works
About one in seven Wisconsin drivers is driving without insurance.
As you can see, this doesn’t put them at risk as much as it puts you at risk.
You’ve read the required minimums on auto insurance for your state. You’ve spoken with an agent and signed up for a plan. You pay your premiums.
If you get into a collision that’s your fault, your insurance plan is ideally going to have an adequate amount of liability coverage to pay for the other driver’s medical expenses and property damage.
Uninsured motorist coverage or UM coverage protects you from drivers who aren’t as responsible as you are and don’t have any insurance or enough insurance. Concerning possible injuries that may ensue after a collision that wasn’t your fault, there are two types of UM coverage that will protect you:
#1 – Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM coverage or UMBI coverage)
#2 – Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIM coverage or UIMBI coverage)
Together, these two coverage types are often referred to as UM/UIM coverage.
What’s the Difference Between a Driver Who’s “Uninsured” and One Who’s “Underinsured”
- An “uninsured” driver or motorist is on the road illegally because they have zero insurance.
- An “underinsured” driver or motorist is legal to drive, but they don’t have good insurance. Often, they only have what’s absolutely required in their state.
- UMBI coverage for uninsured drivers pays for your medical expenses (including lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) when the at-fault drive is completely uninsured.
- UIMBI coverage for underinsured drivers pays for your medical expenses (including lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) above and beyond the at-fault driver’s minimal limits.
As a Wisconsin resident, you are required to have UMBI (UM) coverage. UIMBI (UIM) coverage is only recommended, not mandatory.
Taking Care of Property Damage After a Collision With an Uninsured Driver
In Wisconsin, the UM coverage that takes care of property damage (UMPD coverage) is not offered. It’s only available in some states. What you can do to protect yourself from uninsured motorists who cause damage to your car is to purchase collision insurance.
Of course, collision insurance is an optional type of coverage. So, if it’s not a policy you carry, you may end up turning to civil legal action in order to recoup compensation from uninsured drivers who hit you.
If you have questions about UM and UIM insurance, our experienced and friendly auto insurance agents at GOEBEL Insurance & Financial have the answers. Give us a call or stop into our office today to learn more.