Indiana law requires that everyone who buys a policy of automobile insurance be offered a minimum of $25,000 in uninsured motorists bodily injury coverage as part of the policy. If the policyholder does not want this coverage, they must sign a written waiver. Otherwise, it is automatically included.
Uninsured motorists coverage is designed to pay the injured person the same amount of money that the individual who caused the wreck would have paid if they had been insured. Most policies provide this coverage even if the person who is injured was in someone else’s car at the time of the crash or even if they were struck as a pedestrian.
Most policies of uninsured motorists coverage also provide for property damage coverage that pays for damage to the insured’s car or truck if it is damaged by a motorist who had no liability insurance. Although most auto policies also have collision coverage that will pay for property damage, there is usually a deductible for collision coverage, whereas there is no deductible for uninsured motorists property damage coverage.
This fact is something that many claims adjustors neglect to mention if an uninsured motorist causes a crash, but since many collision policies have a deductible of $500 or more, it is not something that should be overlooked.
A question that often arises in uninsured motorists claims is how does the policyholder prove that the person who caused the crash had no insurance? I have had some cases in which the police arrested the person who caused the crash because they were drunk. Amazingly enough, the insurance company for the person that was injured then tells them that before their insurance company will pay anything under the uninsured motorists coverage of their policy, it is up to them to get proof from the drunk driver that they didn’t have insurance. Obviously, this is not an easy thing to accomplish.
Fortunately, Indiana law provides that if a policyholder has made reasonable efforts to obtain proof of insurance from the other motorist, but that person has been uncooperative, an insurer must assume that the other motorist had no insurance unless the insurance company can prove otherwise. “Reasonable efforts” include attempting to contact the other individual by telephone or letter, with no response.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a motorist who had no liability insurance, give me a call to discuss what legal rights you may have under your own auto policy.