The Importance of Carrying Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage on Your Vehicle PolicyJune 15, 2018
New Jersey, like all other states, requires drivers to carry liability insurance coverage. But for a variety of reasons, not everyone does. And for those that carry the minimum coverage, there may not be enough to pay all of the damages you suffer in an accident. A good accident lawyer can help you find ways to recover damages, but carrying the right uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help you protect yourself.
Insurance coverage works as a contract. For coverage to apply, the insured has to pay premiums on time and otherwise fill his or her end of the bargain. Unfortunately, this means that other drivers on the road may let their coverage lapse, through non-payment or failure to meet other conditions of the contract. If this occurs, that driver's insurer has no duty to make payments on your policy.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist who causes your accident, your insurer will only pay if you have uninsured coverage. To protect yourself and avoid out of pocket costs, you need to include it in your policy and file an uninsured claim.
Even if the other driver carries insurance, the minimum coverage may not cover all your damages. Damage to your vehicle and your personal injury claim are often more extensive than the other policy covers. And almost always, the other driver cannot afford to pay a judgment beyond his or her insurance coverage.
Underinsured coverage gives you a buffer to cover costs that are outside the limits of the other driver's liability policy. Your insurer then subrogates and pursues the other driver for the remaining damages, but it prevents you from being personally liable for another driver's mistake.
Auto insurance is there to protect you against liability, and if you carry additional underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, it can pay out even when the other driver's liability coverage will not. If you have been in an accident and need help filing an uninsured or underinsured claim, contact Stern & Stern LLP today.