Car insurance is one of those things that you pay for, but hope you will never need to use. The fact that you do pay for your insurance, though, makes it particularly frustrating when you get into an accident, only to learn the other driver was not insured.
In Colorado, the law states that every driver must have auto insurance. Specifically, each driver must have liability insurance. This covers property damage and bodily injury.
However, even though carrying liability insurance is a requirement, there are plenty of people who choose to not carry insurance. While this can certainly make the process more confusing, do not lose hope. Rather, follow these steps after getting into an accident with an uninsured driver.
Step 1: Look at your insurance policy first
Insurance companies know there are drivers out there without insurance and offer uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage to bridge this gap. While it is not a requirement that you carry this type of coverage, insurance companies do need to offer it to you. This said, the very first thing you will want to do after an accident with an uninsured motorist is to check your coverage to see what is included in your policy.
Step 2: Understanding your policy
If you are reading through your insurance policy and are not quite sure what it is you are reading, this is not surprising. Insurance policies can be quite confusing to decipher.
In terms of the basics though, if you do have uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, the minimum must be equal to the bodily injury liability limits of your policy. In Colorado, the minimums are:
- $25,000 per person for an accident with someone who does not have coverage
- $50,000 per accident with someone who does not have coverage
The same amounts hold true if the other driver falls into the underinsured category, which essentially means they carry insurance, but the limits are less than the limits of your uninsured/underinsured policy.
Step 3: Prepare to push back against a claim denial
You are not the only one who pays for insurance and hopes to never need it. The insurance company also hopes that while you pay for your insurance, you will never use it — and in turn — the company will never need to payout damages.
Insurance companies do have a legal duty to their policyholders though. And while they do know this, there are still plenty of cases where a legitimate claim is denied.
Unfortunately, this puts the burden of proof on you to collect. Even though you are carrying insurance to cover this very type of accident — being hit by someone who is uninsured — the company may still deny your claim.
Before you pay out-of-pocket expenses though, know that a claim denial is not the final say. Rather, start exploring what next steps to take to appeal a denial. If working with an attorney, make sure to bring all documents related to the denial and your coverage to your meeting.