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Question DetailsAsked on 3/13/2018

What good is uninusred motorist if you still have to pay the deductible.

my car was hit but it was not my fault. Because the other driver's insurance company is having difficulty confirming whether their client had insurance at the time of the accident. I have to pay the deductible until the other driver's insurance company can confirm their client was covered. You either have insurance or not it should not take several weeks to find that information out. I think I am getting jerked around. Meanwhile my car repair is done and I have to come up with the deductible until this is all sorted out. I did not have the luxury of time to get the repair nor did I want to spend my own money when I did nothing but follow the rules of the road. There has got to be a better way.

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1 Answer


In a few words - what "good" uninsured motorist does for you is pay for your damages (subject to your deductible) if the other party is uninsured and will not / cannot pay for your damages. Otherwise you are stuck having to sue him for the damages, maybe or maybe not win, and even if you win he may not be able to pay (for example the estimated half million to million illegal immigrants driving without licenses in the US) or may skip town, and even if able to pay and you win, the legal system does not help you recover from him - you have to initiate property or paycheck attachment proceedings in the courts to recover the money in that case, so having the insurance gives you a great deal of protection against losses not your fault.

Couple of possible things you can do here - if you have an attorney working on the case (yours or your insurance company's) should be done by him/her. I also list a number of other things relevant to your case, based on my experience - but note only an attorney can give you direction on your options and on how much the insurance policy terms help or hurt you.

1) Get your insurance company to carry the ball - they should be able to confirm the coverage (or lack thereof) with the other carrier within minutes.

2) Notify the other driver that unless he provides proof of insurance within X days (say 5 business days) that because his insurance company has failed to confirm coverage, you will be reporting him to the police as an uninsured driver involved in an accident - which is a crime.

3) Either way you should be covered for any legitimate loss exceeding your deductible - either by the other company, or if he was uninsured by your company - to the extent of adjusted (appraised) losses.

If he DOES have insurance, assuming the accident was his fault (hopefully you have a police report on the accident which supports your innocence as proof), then it should cover the accident damage in full (between the insurance coverage and his paying his deductible share), up to the limit of his policy coverage, which should have been at least as much as state required minimum coverage for Collision coverage. In some states the other company has to pay the full bill (up to coverage limit) regardless of whether he can or will pay the deductible or not, and collect the deductible from him. In others, you have to collect the deductible amount from him, and may have to sue if he fails/refuses to pay.

4) If he is NOT insured, or was under-insured (not enough coverage to pay for all the damage to your car) that is where your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage comes in, basically covering your losses out of that coverage as if it came from him. Some uninsured motorist coverages have no deductible, some you can change the deductible amount (before the accident of course) on uninsured motorist coverage, most I think default to applying the same deductible to all types of claims under the policy as if you had caused the accident or it was an act of god (with Comprehensive coverage).

Likely the latter applies in your case, which is why the insurance company would be asking that you pay the deductible amount to the repair shop (keep good invoice and proof of payment and provide copies to appropriate people (likely Claims Department) at your insurance company).

5) The reason YOU have to pay deductible in that case is because this is insurance YOU bought to protect yourself against exactly this type of (possibly) uninsured collision situation, so you select a deductible coverage amount with your insurance company, and they charge the corresponding premium for that coverage. Change to a lower or no deductible (on that coverage or entire policy, as available and applicable) and your rates go up because they have to pay more in the event of a valid claim, raise the deductible and your rates go down - it is all an actuarial balancing act of how much risk you chose to assume and how much you wanted to pay the insurer to take on.

6) In no-fault states his coverage or lack thereof would not be a factor - your policy (in which you pay the price for uninsured motorist damages to you, so grossly unfair in principle) would cover your losses, under the policy terms and limits.

7) You can always sue for personal injuries, incidental damages, punitive damages, etc if the damage/injuries were enough to justify it - and indeed if that is the case usually your insurance company might take the lead on it (or might not) because they want to recover what they paid out to you under the uninsured coverage from him.

8) Want another unfair fact - if you sue, your recoverable damages which may have been reimbursed by your insurance company go to the insurance company, not to you - even though you already paid for those costs in your premiums. Also, the insurance company and its attorneys get recovery of their costs off the top - there have been cases where a person sued about an auto accident and their attorney and the insurance compny were made whole but the injured party got little or nothing from the suit.

9) And for further salt in the wound - with almost all companies, this will count as a charged accident on your insurance record, so by itself with many companies may raise your rates for typically 3 years - and eliminate any accident-free discount you were receiving. Some insurance companies take into consideration if it was your fault or not, many do not. And if police report is indeterminate as to which party was responsible, become chargeable against your insurance record.

10) Be sure any state-required accident report was filed - usually an accident report by the police at the scene counts as that, in some sttes you have to sign it to meet the state requirement, in others or where police were not called you have to file an accident report within X days under the law. Usually that requirement applies only if damages are more than about $250 or $500 or there are any injuries - but best to get a report in regardless because first you probably are not qualified to estimate the losses (and $250 or $500 is VERY minimal damage these days - basically almost anything that leaves a dent or crease or more), but you also cannot predict whether the other party may claim injuries once away from the scene.

Here are a link to one previous similar question FYI:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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