Nearly every single state requires that drivers carry some minimum liability insurance. Of course, not everyone does what they’re supposed to do, and some people still hit the road without the required insurance. Some estimates place the number of uninsured drivers as high as 1 out of 8!
You are insured, naturally. But have you thought about how vulnerable you are if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver? Even if you drive perfectly all the time, you are still at risk—what if the other driver isn’t paying attention? Even the best drivers are at the mercy to someone who isn’t doing their due diligence on the road.
Finding out that the other party doesn’t have insurance can be nerve-wracking. What does that mean for you? What should you do? Here are some do’s—and don’ts—that you should follow if you are in a car accident with a driver who doesn’t have auto insurance.
Do’s And Don’ts
- Call emergency services – You need to get in touch with the police, especially, but you should also have an ambulance there. You’re going to need as much documentation as possible since recovering damages from an uninsured driver can be exceptionally difficult.
- Take photos – Take lots of photos, of the position of your vehicles, the condition of your car, and the surrounding area. Take photos of the other driver’s car, visible injuries, and road signs. Take photos of the other car’s license plate. Photos can contain a lot of helpful details!
- Write down details – You’d be surprised how much you can forget even in an hour or two. Take the time to jot down details about what happened as soon as possible.
- Exchange information—and not just with the other driver – Even if they don’t have insurance, you’ll want their contact information, registration details, and so forth. Don’t forget to get contact information from any witnesses that observed the accident or stopped after the accident; their testimony can be extremely helpful when you are filing your claim.
- Accept any money from the other driver – The other driver may offer you money on the spot—especially in lieu of you calling the police. Don’t accept it. Accepting it can indicate that you think that’s all they owe you—but you have no way of knowing what your damages are yet.
When You Call Your Insurance Company
First, call the police and ensure that anyone injured has access to emergency services. Then, gather any information that you might not have access to later—like taking photos of the position the cars were in at the time of the accident. Then, call your insurance company. When you call, you’ll give them:
- Your insurance policy number (located on your insurance card)
- The location of the accident
- The date and time that it occurred
- Details about the accident
- The police department involved, and the report number if you have it already
- The contact information of the other driver
Will I Get Money For Damages?
It depends on a few different factors.
First, does your car insurance policy feature uninsured drivers coverage? If so, you’ll be covered. If you aren’t sure, you should call your agent and go over your policy together. Uninsured drivers coverage means that your auto insurance company will cover costs for any injuries you and your passengers sustained, loss of income, and other damages.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll have to take the other driver to court (assuming they don’t voluntarily settle).