While most states have minimum requirements when it comes to insurance and operating vehicles, there are still plenty of drivers out there who either have no coverage or are underinsured. Unfortunately, it seems like this is all too common when it comes to car accidents.
Uninsured and underinsured motorists could drastically affect you should you be in an accident with someone. But what these coverage terms mean can be confusing. Check out this guide to learn more. If you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident, be sure to hire an experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal details of your case.
Different Auto Insurance Coverage Options
When it comes to insuring a vehicle, drivers have several different options. When you obtain uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it means you are taking out a policy to protect yourself just in case you are in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured.
Different states have varying laws and requirements, and insurance companies typically have varying rates, coverage, and options.
What is Liability Insurance?
Liability coverage is a low coverage and is often a state requirement for a driver to hold as minimal coverage. Liability only covers you for the damages that you are considered at-fault for in an accident.
Within liability coverage, there are two different parts: bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury will cover any injuries caused by the fault of the covered drivers on the policy. Damaged property will cover property damages for other drivers whose vehicles or property were damaged by the covered driver, if they are at fault.
When you carry liability insurance, it is designed to help you cover expenses for other parties if you are the cause of the accident. It typically does not cover your own expenses, or any expenses when you are not at fault.
When you look at state laws, you will find that the majority of states require a minimum of liability insurance and they may have a specific dollar amount of minimum coverage as well. It’s important to note this doesn’t cover you in any way, just others who face injuries or damage because of you.
In Indiana, drivers must have a minimum of $25,000 coverage per accident in several categories. Indiana is also a “no pay, no play” state, which means if you are uninsured and in an accident, then you cannot seek compensation for physical impairments or pain and suffering.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage?
Think of uninsured and underinsured coverage as an add-on that you can get to protect yourself in the event of an accident. When you’re in an accident and the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance, this coverage protects you.
The same goes for when another driver is at fault but perhaps their insurance is not high enough to cover the minimum or the needs of the accident. In both cases, the other driver’s insurance is not adequate for the accident, leaving a need for additional coverage. That’s where uninsured or underinsured coverage comes in.
Your policy will have a dollar amount that it covers up to. With an uninsured driver, the policy covers up to a specific amount. With an underinsured driver, your policy will cover the expenses, up to the limit, above what the other driver’s policy covers. So their policy pays first and then this policy helps cover overages.
What is Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payment Coverage?
While PIP is not required in Indiana, it’s still important to know about and may be the best coverage choice. With PIP insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for medical expenses related to an accident.
You can also have medical payments coverage, which will pay for medical expenses regardless of which driver is at fault. This is an optional coverage addition, but it can be beneficial in the event of an accident and receiving the most compensation possible.
What is Comprehensive and Collision Coverage?
Comprehensive coverage covers more and will cover incidents that are not necessarily related to motor vehicle accidents. Some of the things the policy may cover include fire, flood, hail, hitting a deer, theft, and more. These are the extra things that protect damages to your vehicle.
Then there is collision coverage, which pays for vehicular damages caused by collision, regardless of fault for the incident. Collision is not just with other vehicles, but can also include walls, trees, telephone poles, and more.
What Coverage is Required in Indiana?
Insurance coverage requirements are determined by each state, and most of the time it depends on the views of no fault, at fault, or other designations within the state. Here are Indiana’s minimum insurance coverage requirements:
$25,000 per person bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per accident property damage liability
- Uninsured coverage that meets the minimum liability
- Underinsured coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury
All insurance companies offering coverage in Indiana must offer policies that meet these amounts. You can choose not to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, but you must sign a waiver to do so.
The coverage is not required in Indiana, but take a look at your policies. Chances are you have this coverage, unless you remember waiving it. And if you don’t have it, it could be a good idea.
Use an Experienced Lawyer When Facing a Car Accident
Car accidents happen several times a day in Indiana. All too often, one party is either uninsured or has insufficient coverage for the injuries and damage that occur. You have recourse for compensation when you are in an accident at the fault of another driver.
Find a trustworthy and experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer to help you understand your options and work through the process.