What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver in Arizona?
Arizona has an extremely high percentage of uninsured motorists. 12% of the drivers on the road are uninsured. Our state also ranks high for hit and run deaths: we’re the 5th highest in the nation, according to AAA. When you can’t find the driver who hit you, you can’t launch an effective personal injury suit.
Even those who follow the law at times don’t really carry enough coverage to take care of most personal injury claims. This can be a problem since even when you sue a driver their insurance policy will only pay up to certain policy limits.
What, then, is your recourse? You do have options, but only if you plan ahead.
Arizona’s Policy Minimums
If the person you’re in an accident with is legally insured then they’ll have bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, and a minimum of $10,000 in property liability coverage.
This amount will handle many minor injuries but won’t do much for catastrophic or severe ones. Thus, even if you’re in an accident with someone who is following the law you might find yourself needing some additional coverage.
Who Pays When the Negligent Driver Can’t?
If you are following the law then you have, at a bare minimum, $15,000 of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, with a $30,000 per accident cap. Again, this isn’t much, though it does push up the amount you can get both from the other driver’s policy and your own.
In some cases your own health insurance policy may also cover some of the gaps.
Yet if you want to be truly safe you will buy more than the bare minimum amount of insurance. You’ll increase all of your own liability coverages, not necessarily because you want your insurance to be able to pay more if you’re the at-fault driver in an accident, but because you’re required to increase your liability coverage before you can increase your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Do you have adequate insurance?
Given the way a personal injury claim can escalate expenses, it may be a very good idea to reach out to your agent and go over your coverages. You might want to take your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage up to the maximum. Arizona doesn’t have any fund that you can turn to in the event that you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured party.
Keep in mind you won’t be getting a pain and suffering award from this kind of coverage. You will get your medical bills covered though, and some policies make provisions for lost wages as well. If yours doesn’t, you might want to supplement with one that does, such as Aflac’s disability policies.
It would be nice to think that you’ll always be able to bring a personal injury case against any negligent party, and prevail in a way that ensures you’re fully taken care of. In reality, though, it’s always smart to have a back-up plan.