Auto insurance uninsured driverIf you’re going to be out on the road, auto insurance is a requirement. However, with the recent economic downturn, people have had to make some tough choices in their budgets and changes to their spending habits. Unfortunately, important expenses—like insurance—may sometimes get cut. What happens if you get into an accident with someone who has had to cut auto insurance coverage?

What to do in case of a car accident—no matter what

If you’re in a car accident, these steps should always be followed first, even if the other party doesn’t have insurance and would prefer you not call the police. There is too much money at stake to risk making a misstep. Hidden damages can be discovered after the fact, and you want to have a police report to back your claim.

  1. Call the police. A police statement will make sure your side of the story is documented.
  2. Get all insurance and contact information from the other driver.
  3. Take photos of your vehicle damage.
  4. Report everything to the insurance company.
  5. Call your agent in the event that he or she needs to intervene with any issues that arise.

When you have an accident with someone who has insurance, the law and terms of your insurance policies will determine who is at fault and how damages are paid.

But if the other driver does not have insurance, you will need to have supplemental uninsured/underinsured motorists (SUM) coverage on your car insurance policy in order to best handle the situation.

What is SUM coverage?

SUM coverage protects you (and your passengers) in the case of injury, property damage, or death as a result of an accident with a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance. This coverage also protects you if a driver’s insurance isn’t sufficient to cover him or her. Additionally, uninsured motorist coverage protects you in case of an accident with a hit-and-run driver.

If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may initially think you’re going to be on the hook for the costs. However, some states have laws that will protect you. Here in New York, for example, it is mandatory that your auto insurance policy includes SUM coverage, which can save you from a financial hardship—the very purpose of insurance.

For this reason and many more, it is important to understand your auto insurance policy and review your insurance policy to ensure you are adequately protected in case of a car accident. Call your agent today!

Health Insurance Discounts for Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Women’s Health Insurance Coverage
Auto Insurance: How to Avoid a Lemon Car
Homeowners Insurance: Someone Gets Hurt On Your Property
Health Insurance Coverage for Infertility Treatments

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.

Follow Linda on Twitter.