These days, everybody seems to be trying to find ways to cut their expenses and save a little money – and some folks foolishly decide that their car insurance isn’t that critical.
So, what happens to you if you’re in a wreck with one of these irresponsible people here in New York?
No-fault insurance and uninsured motorist coverage can cover you
As a law-abiding citizen who does have insurance, you’re covered under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) plan – or “no-fault” insurance. New York is one of many states that aims to get injured drivers what they need to be made healthy and whole again as quickly as possible.
To that end, your PIP insurance covers you and your passengers for up to $50,000 (each) for medical expenses, lost wages and some other reasonable expenses. It does not, however, cover losses beyond that point nor the repair of your vehicle.
Uninsured motorist coverage is also a required part of your policy in New York, so you still have coverage even if the driver who causes the wreck has no insurance and your claim exceeds the $50,000 mark. (This is also true if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, since that’s effectively the same as an uninsured motorist claim.)
Keep in mind that this coverage can be fairly small. The state minimum coverage is only $25,000 per person for bodily injuries ($50,000 total per accident) and $10,000 for your property damage – so it may not be enough. In some cases, you may be forced to sue the uninsured driver directly in order to recover your losses.
You still need to take steps to protect your rights
When you’ve been in a wreck with an uninsured driver, don’t assume that you’re simply out of luck and out of resources. You may be entitled to more compensation than you realize through your own insurance.
Keep in mind, however, that just because you’re working with your own insurance company, that doesn’t mean you’ll be treated fairly. Insurance companies are concerned about their profits, not people. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of your rights in the situation if you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver.