Many drivers do not have the car insurance coverage they believe they do. After a crash, one of the first things a car accident lawyer does is check to determine what insurance coverage is available to recover compensation for their client. Often, when they ask the client what coverage they have, they respond: “I have full coverage.”
Unfortunately, this is often not enough. What the insurance industry considers “full coverage” may not cover all your needs when you suffer injuries in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Understanding “Full Coverage” Insurance
In the auto insurance industry, “full coverage” means it includes:
- Liability, which is mandated in most states and covers the damages suffered by victims in a crash you cause
- Collision, to repair your car after an accident regardless of fault
- Comprehensive, to repair your vehicle after a non-crash incident such as a falling tree
These policies are important to keep you driving legally and to pay for the damage to your vehicle in an accident, but none of them pay anything to you for your injuries.
Except for liability insurance, these are generally optional coverages. The policyholder has often discussed their desire to have additional coverage with an insurance agent, and this “full coverage” is the result.
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What Covers the Policyholder’s Bodily Injuries?
In most cases, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance should pay for your injuries in a crash they caused. However, if they did not have insurance, you may find that you do not have coverage for these expenses and losses, either. This is despite having “full coverage.”
Sadly, the insurance agent who told you that you were getting full coverage was really working as an agent for the insurer, not you. To be sure you are protected, you also need uninsured motorist coverage, sometimes called “bodily injury protection.”
While requirements for uninsured and underinsurance motorist coverage varies by state, the states in the Gulf South all require motorists to opt-out in writing. This means it comes included with your auto liability policy, and you must specifically request to drop the policy. This is true in many states, including:
How Commonly do Motorists Drive Uninsured?
Many motorists drive around with either no insurance or with the least amount of coverage required by law. If an accident victim has uninsured motorist coverage, it is much easier to recover compensation if one of these uninsured drivers causes an injury accident.
About one in eight drivers nationwide is uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Mississippi had the highest percentage of uninsured motorists in 2019, at 29.4 percent. Yes, almost a third of all motorists in Mississippi drove with no liability insurance for all or part of the year.
These policies may also work as underinsured motorist protection. This applies when:
- The policyholder has serious injuries
- The at-fault driver has only the minimum insurance required by law
- The cost of the victim’s care exceeds the liability coverage available
It is also important to note that filing an uninsured motorist claim cannot generally lead to the insurer dropping you or raising your rates.
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Review Your Car Insurance Coverages Today
Please take the time to review your auto insurance policy and consider asking your agent to add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage if you do not already have these policies. This protects you and any passengers in your car if you are in an injury accident.
This is also usually one of the most affordable coverages to include in your policy, especially when it comes to what you can get when you use it.
If you were recently in a crash and hope your “full coverage” insurance will help you pay your bills and cover your losses, you may want to discuss your options with a car accident attorney near you. Most provide free case reviews for victims. They answer questions and explain how they would handle your case.
Options for paying for your collision damages could include:
- Filing a claim based on the other driver’s auto liability policy
- Suing the other driver if they have the means to pay
- Filing an uninsured motorist claim based on your own policy
- Using other insurance coverage such as a personal injury policy, if available
- Relying on their health insurance and “full coverage” policies
An attorney from our team can help you determine which of these will work best for your case. Our firm works based on contingency fees, so we can handle your claim with no upfront cost to your family.
Speak With Morris Bart, LLC about Your Collision Options
At the Morris Bart law firm, we offer free consultations for car accident victims in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. When a client hires our team, they can feel confident that every member of our staff will do their best to make sure they get justice and fair financial recovery.
Call (800) 537-8185 to learn more during a complimentary case review.
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