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What coverage is available in an uninsured motorist accident?

Imagine this: you are driving on your way to work during the rush-hour commute in Minneapolis when suddenly another driver rear-ends you, and then speeds away. You are injured, but the driver responsible for the crash fled the scene and you cannot identify or locate him or her. The medical expenses associated with your injury are costly. In a hit-and-run scenario, is there any way you can be compensated for your damages?

This is one situation in which it is good to have uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage compensates policyholders for injuries they or their passengers suffer in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. It can be a hit-and-run accident like the one described above, or it could be an accident where the responsible party simply does not have auto insurance.

Similar to uninsured motorist coverage is underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage compensates the policyholder when the driver responsible for the crash does have insurance, but it is not sufficient to cover all of your medical expenses. The state of Minnesota requires drivers to have both uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

As this shows, there are benefits to having both uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. You can control the way you drive, but you cannot control the way others drive. Some people drive irresponsibly or even recklessly, and will cause accidents. However, keep in mind that sometimes insurance cannot cover all the costs associated with an uninsured/underinsured motorist accident. If your medical expenses exceed what is covered by your insurance policy, you may want to work with an attorney to see if taking legal action against the responsible party is possible.

Source: NerdWallet, “Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage,” Alex Glenn, Jan. 19, 2016