If you have been injured in a car crash caused by the negligence of someone else, they are on the hook to pay your damages. What happens, however, if the at-fault driver does not carry liability insurance or does not carry enough liability insurance to cover all of your losses? When you have mounting medical bills and other expenses stemming from a motor vehicle crash, you must be justifiably concerned about who will pay for your losses. Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, but that minimum amount may not be enough, or the other driver may have disregarded in an attempt to save money. This is where uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can come in to help cover your losses.
What is the Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Insurance coverage is so important and yet it can be so difficult to understand. You may have heard of uninsured motorist coverage, but don’t really understand what it is or when it comes into play. Then you have underinsured motorist coverage which is often confused with uninsured motorist coverage, but is different. Here is the breakdown of uninsured versus underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you if you are involved in a car accident with a person who is an uninsured driver. An uninsured driver, for these purposes, is one who has no liability insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage will also come into play if the other driver is unknown or unascertainable as is the case with many hit and run accidents. If you are hit by an uninsured or unknown driver, uninsured motorist coverage will come in to help pay for things such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
West Virginia law requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. The minimum amounts required are $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage. You may want to consider getting uninsured motorist coverage above and beyond the legally required minimum. $20,000 in coverage may sound like a lot, but it might not go far in covering accident related medical expenses. An emergency room visit alone can cost thousands of dollars.
Underinsured motorist coverage is not required in West Virginia. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play if you are in a vehicle crash and the at-fault driver does not have enough liability coverage to fully compensate you for your crash related losses. In filing an underinsured motorist claim with your own auto insurance, your carrier is legally required to pay for all damages that have exceeded the at fault driver’s liability insurance limits up to the full amount of underinsured motorist coverage you have.
Always Fighting for Your Best Interests
Being involved in a car crash is scary. The financial consequences of being injured in a car crash are overwhelming. Review your auto insurance policy today and make sure you are protecting yourself financially if you are ever to find yourself as a victim in a motor vehicle crash. If you have any questions, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hewitt & Salvatore.