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Accident with an Uninsured Driver?

uninsured motorist auto accident

As you probably know, all states require a minimum amount of insurance on a vehicle. However, according to the Insurance Research Council, an estimated 1 in 7 drivers in the U.S. is uninsured.

For that reason, most insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

In the state of Missouri, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is required; underinsured (UIM) is not.


What happens if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver?

As the name implies, uninsured motorist coverage applies when you get in an accident with a driver who does not carry any insurance. It also applies should the other driver leave before you can gather his or her insurance information.

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage applies if:

  • The other driver was at fault
  • The other driver is uninsured
  • Unidentified hit-and-run accident
  • Stolen vehicles

How is underinsured motorist coverage different?

Again, as the name implies, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage applies when you are injured by a driver whose coverage limits do not cover the cost of damage and injuries.

This means that the other driver’s insurance would cover expenses up to his or her policy limits. So, for instance, if the other driver’s policy limit was $25,000 and the damages and injuries incurred expenses of $50,000, you would be able to file a claim for $25,000 with that person’s insurance. After that, your UIM insurance would pay the rest, that is, up until your coverage limits have been reached.

What if the damages and injuries exceed UM/UIM coverage limits?

There is a practice called “stacking.” Stacking means that you can combine insurance coverage limits to account for more than one vehicle insured on the same policy or under separate policies.

The benefit of being able to stack your UM/UIM coverage is that it raises the potential amount of coverage you can use in case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

If your coverage is unstacked, or you only have one insured vehicle, then your level of coverage equals the limit listed on your policy.

Let’s look at some examples.

umuim

Example 1: The limit on your policy is set at $25,000. In unstacked coverage, you will only receive coverage up to that maximum amount of $25,000.

Example 2: If you stack within policies, you may be able to combine the coverage limits for multiple vehicles on one policy. For instance, if you have two cars on a single car insurance policy and your UM limit was $50,000 you could potentially combine your UM coverage limits for a total of up to $100,000.

Example 3: If you stack across policies, meaning that your two vehicles are on two separate policies, and your UM limit was $40,000, you could potentially file a claim using both policies up to $80,000.

When insuring your vehicles, talk with your insurance agent about the benefits of stacked vs. unstacked UM/UIM coverage.


Is it Time to Get Legal Advice?

In accidents where the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, it can be confusing trying to figure out what his or her insurance will cover and what yours will cover. If you are unaware of stacking, you could also lose out on a considerable amount of money to cover your expenses.

The lawyers at Nash & Franciskato are experienced auto accident attorneys and can help you determine if stacking your policies is a viable option. By stacking policies, we have obtained settlements for clients to cover the costs of damages and serious injuries.

Should you need legal advice for your situation, contact us for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

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