Here's What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident With a Driver Who Doesn't Have Insurance

Nearly all states require their drivers to have insurance to get behind the wheel legally. But, like any law, there are always those willing to break it. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimated that about 14% of drivers were uninsured in 2022, the most recent data available. And in some states, this figure was closer to 25%.

That’s not just a problem for the uninsured driver. It’s also a big deal for their victims. Here’s what could happen to drivers who are hit by someone uninsured.

Typically, if one driver crashes into another, both parties pull over and exchange names and insurance information. They should also notify the police of the accident and take photos of the damages. But things may not play out that way if the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance.

It’s still worth exchanging names and contact information, taking photos, and contacting the police. The uninsured driver could face fines, the revocation of their driver’s license or registration, or even jail time for failing to meet state insurance requirements.

Some drivers without insurance, knowing the consequences, choose not to stick around after causing an accident. If they try to flee the scene, call the police and tell them as much as possible about where the accident occurred, what the vehicle looked like, and who was driving it. You will likely need to file a police report.

Next steps

The at-fault driver is legally responsible for paying for the damages on their own, but that doesn’t mean they can. Drivers injured by an uninsured motorist can try suing them. However, this takes time and money and still may not lead to a satisfactory conclusion.

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Those hoping to get their medical bills and vehicle repairs tended to quickly can fall back on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if they have it. This pays for the policyholder’s expenses if they are hit by a driver who lacks insurance or who lacks enough insurance to cover the full cost of the damages.

Those without this coverage are unfortunately on their own. They’ll have to pay for their vehicle repairs and any hospital bills out of their own pocket or wait to see if they receive any funds from the at-fault driver.

How to prepare

Some states require their drivers to carry at least some uninsured/underinsured coverage, but in most, this protection is optional. Even in states where it is required, limits are usually low — often just $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The bare minimum may not provide adequate protection in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.

It could be worth increasing the policy’s coverage limits to include this protection if it’s not already there. All major car insurance companies provide uninsured and underinsured motorist protection.

Shopping around is the best way for drivers to find a great deal. Claiming all possible discounts can help too. For example, many companies enable drivers to bundle their renters or homeowners insurance and their auto insurance to save on both. Raising the policy’s deductible can also reduce premiums significantly.

It’s best for drivers lacking uninsured/underinsured coverage to act promptly to increase their policy limits. Accidents can happen at any time and uninsured drivers can be anywhere. Fortunately, many insurers enable drivers to purchase a policy online in minutes, so it’s possible to get the protection you want quickly when you’re ready.

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