Drivers across the nation are more and more often letting their auto insurance policies lapse due to the poor economy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hundreds of thousands of drivers decided to go without it this year.
As a Chicago car accident and personal injury lawyer, I am seeing evidence first hand that the Journal article is correct. My law firm has seen a drastic increase in the number of uninsured motorist claims that we are handling for our clients.
What does this mean to you? It means that the chances have gone up that the next time you get hit by car, the driver that hit you may not have auto insurance to cover the loss.
How can you protect yourself? You need to make sure you have good auto insurance that includes significant uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage.
What is uninsured motorist coverage? Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance that kicks in when the other driver involved in an accident with you is at fault and they do not have insurance. At that point your insurance company will step in and pay on your personal injury claim. They essentially step into the shoes of the at fault driver.
What is under-insured motorist coverage? Under-insured motorist coverage protects you from someone that is driving with only the minimum insurance that is required by law (in Illinois the minimum is $20,000 per person / $40,000 per occurrence). In that case, your insurance company will step in and pay on the value of the claim that is above the other driver’s insurance policy limits.
For example, you are injured in an auto accident. Your claim is worth $100,000, but the defendant only has $20,000 in coverage. Here, your injury lawyer would collect $20,000 from the defendant’s insurance company, and then your lawyer could set up a claim against your own insurance company and collect the full $100,000 on the claim.
If you have been involved in an accident and the defendant is uninsured or under-insured, or if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, feel free to contact Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free consultation.