Accidents do happen, and when they happen with an uninsured motorist, you'd better be ready.
The chances are about 14 in 100 that if an insured driver is injured in an auto accident, an uninsured driver caused the crash, according to the Insurance Research Council.
You can buy uninsured motorist insurance and in some states it's mandatory. However, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and you don't have this type of coverage, your options are limited.
While it is possible to pursue legal action and sue the uninsured driver, chances are you that you are chasing nothing after since you are pursuing someone who doesn't have auto insurance.
You should always call your attorney if hit by an uninsured driver because there may be some coverage you don't know about.
However the problem can be avoided by purchasing insurance to protect you and your family-uninsured motorist coverage premiums usually run $250. You can also buy under-insured driver coverage for cases when the other driver has some insurance coverage, but not enough.
Liability coverage is mandatory in 45 states and the District of Columbia and Alabama's compulsory insurance law is effective June 1. Penalties for failing to comply range from fines of up to $1,000, license suspensions and, in a few states, jail time.
An insurance study found the five states with the highest uninsured driver estimates were Colorado at 34 percent, Mississippi at 29 percent, Alabama at 28 percent, New Mexico at 27 percent and California at 26 percent. Colorado differs in that bodily injury claims are subject to a $2,500 monetary threshold and the uninsured motorist claims are not. In other states, the thresholds are the same.
At the other end of the scale, the five states with the lowest uninsured driver estimates were Maine and North Carolina, tied at 5 percent each, South Dakota at 6 percent, and Nebraska and Massachusetts, each with 7 percent.
The study found trends varied widely between and within states. The uninsured driver ratio for Mississippi was nearly six times as high as the ratio for Maine. Within states, the study found the frequency of uninsured motorist claims to be much higher in large cities than in rural areas.
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