A collision with an uninsured motorist can quickly throw your life and finances into disarray. The insurance of the other driver would typically cover your damages if he was responsible for the accident. If he is uninsured and you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance will cover the claim. A collision with an uninsured motorist isn't the determining factor in whether your insurance premium increases. What matters is who was at fault and what your policy says.
Evaluating Your Coverage
To be covered when you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist, you need uninsured motorist coverage. Otherwise, your insurer will deny the claim. If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, however, it's unlikely that your premiums will go up because your insurer won't have to pay for the claim.
Determining Accident Fault
If you live in California or Oklahoma, you're in luck. The state bans insurance companies from raising your rates if an accident isn't your fault. In other states, however, you won't be so lucky. According to a report from the Consumer Federation of America, four out of five of the leading auto insurers hike rates on customers who were in an accident, even when they weren't at fault. Progressive raises rates 17 percent on average, while Geico and Farmers raise rates only occasionally and Allstate sometimes increases them. State Farm was the only company in the survey that didn't raise rates on policyholders in no-fault accidents.
When You're At Fault
If you caused the accident, it won't matter that the other motorist is uninsured. Your premiums may go up, but this depends on the specifics of your contract. Some insurers offer accident forgiveness for the first accident and won't increase your premiums. Check your policy to learn whether this applies in your situation.
Filing Your Claim
If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you should not file a claim. Filing a claim only alerts your insurance company to the accident and can cause the insurer to increase your premiums if you're at fault. If you do have uninsured motorist coverage, document the state of the vehicle and provide a narrative of what happened. If your damages are extensive, you may want to consult an attorney to ensure you get the maximum money possible.
If you hit the financial limitations of your policy, you might not be able to make another claim within the same year. This is not a premium increase but a specific limitation on your coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage frequently offers a lower rate of coverage than other insurance packages, so carefully evaluate your policy to determine if you have sufficient coverage.
- DMV.org: Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
- Esurance: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverages Aren't Necessary
- Allstate: What Is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
- Ohio State Bar Association: Underinsured Motorist Coverage -- When Auto Liability Coverage Isn't Enough
- Law Offices of Gary K. Walch: Uninsured Motorist Claims
- Consumer Federation of America: Major Insurance Companies Raise Premiums After Not-At-Fault Accidents
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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