Uninsured Motorist

Definition of an Uninsured Motorist

  • Individuals without liability coverage for the vehicle they are operating
  • Hit and run drivers who flee the scene without providing sufficient information for identification
  • States where coverage for uninsured property damage may be unavailable
  • Stolen vehicles, which are considered uninsured from the time of theft
  • States that require physical contact for uninsured claims

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

  • Covers a victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses when the at-fault driver is uninsured
  • Coverage applies if the other party is found to be at fault
  • Some states require the victim to identify the other vehicle/driver, while others cover hit and run incidents

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

  • Protects a driver financially when injured by someone with liability coverage less than the victim’s coverage
  • Also known as underinsured motorist clause or endorsement
  • Supplementary Underinsured Motorist coverage (SUM) provides additional protection

Litigating an uninsured motorist claim

  • In most states, victims must sue the uninsured motorist to prevail on a breach of contract action against the insurance carrier
  • Some states require obtaining a judgment against the uninsured motorist before suing the carrier for breach
  • Liability is rarely an issue in cases against John Doe defendants
  • Insurance companies typically pay the judgment up to policy limits when an uninsured motorist is at fault
  • Policy stacking provisions may allow claims against multiple uninsured motorist policies

Mandatory coverage in some states

  • Oregon, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, and New York are some of the states that require uninsured motorist coverage on every auto insurance policy
  • Coverage varies by individual state laws
  • Ensures that motorists do not have to pay for medical expenses and property damage caused by underinsured at-fault drivers
Underinsured Motorist
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