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How Do I Protect Myself Against Uninsured Drivers?

Law Offices of James M. Curran

Getting into a New Jersey motor vehicle accident is stressful enough without dealing with insurance. However, while most all states require liability to cover other drivers, some drivers still drive without insurance, which complicates the situation. There are ways people can protect themselves from uninsured motorists.

Uninsured Motorist Protection

When an insured driver hits another vehicle, their insurance typically pays for the damages. Statistics show one in eight drivers, or around 30 million, still do not have minimum liability. This can cause great financial loss for the driver not at fault in accidents, or they will have to sue the driver. Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection gives drivers a safety net in these situations.

Not all states require uninsured motorist protection, but New Jersey does with a minimum of $15,000 for a single driver. It also pays a minimum of $5,000 of property damage and $30,000 for multiple passengers in a single accident, but drivers may buy over the limits.

Underinsured Motorist Protection

Another kind of coverage is underinsured motorist protection, which covers drivers when the at-fault driver has some coverage but not enough. The coverage pays out the difference between the accident damage amount and what the driver should have in coverage. Some states including New Jersey require this in addition to uninsured motorist protection.

For example, if the not-at-fault driver’s accident damages total $30,000 and the at-fault driver’s policy only covers $20,000, the injured driver can make a claim up to their own policy limit that exceeds this amount. For example, if the driver not at fault has a $40,000 policy limit, they could file a claim. They cannot double-dip, meaning getting covered from their insurance and the at-fault driver’s insurance.

In most states, a driver has a time limit to file a car accident insurance claim, which is commonly 30 days. Insurance companies often deny legitimate claims or offer an inadequate settlement, so the driver may need the help of an attorney.

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