Some form of car insurance or proof of financial responsibility is required in all 50 states. Motor vehicle collisions can cost thousands of dollars in property damage and medical care. Insurance guarantees that a motor vehicle driver has the means to pay for an accident that he or she causes. Unfortunately, many drivers in Arizona illegally drive while uninsured or underinsured. If you get into a car accident with one of these negligent drivers, find out what to do to protect yourself.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, also referred to as UM and UIM insurance, covers a car accident involving a driver who is driving without the required amount of motor vehicle insurance in Arizona. It allows a driver to obtain financial benefits from his or her own car insurance company after a crash caused by an uninsured driver. It also pays for a hit-and-run accident by treating it as though the at-fault driver had stayed at the scene but did not have insurance.
Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance protects a policyholder in the event of a car accident involving a driver with no insurance at all. In this scenario, UM insurance will pay for 100 percent of the accident, up to the limits on the policy. Uninsured motorist (UIM) insurance pays for an accident with a driver who has some insurance, but not enough to cover the victim’s injuries and property damage. In this case, the underinsured driver’s insurance will provide primary coverage and UIM provides supplemental coverage.
Does Arizona Require Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
No, Arizona does not require its drivers to maintain uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. However, most auto insurance policies automatically come with this coverage. It is up to a driver to accept it or reject it in writing. The only required types of car insurance in Arizona are $15,000 in property damage liability, $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident.
Drivers may assume they don’t need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage since car insurance is a legal requirement in Arizona. However, the latest available statistics from the Insurance Information Institute show that 12.6 percent of motorists – about one in eight drivers – were uninsured in 2019. Based on the number of licensed drivers in Arizona, this equates to about 710,186 uninsured motorists. The best way to protect yourself from these drivers is by purchasing UM/UIM insurance, even if it is not a state requirement.
Who Pays for an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident?
If you get hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Arizona, it is important to know what steps to take to recover from the crash. You may be facing a complicated insurance claims process. Here’s what to do:
- Report the crash to law enforcement. Arizona law requires drivers to report all car accidents to the police, regardless of severity. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, the police may issue a citation and suspend the driver’s license.
- Exchange information with the uninsured/underinsured driver. Write down the other driver’s name, address and insurance information, if he or she has insurance.
- Get medical care without delay. Go to a hospital immediately for medical care for any injuries that you may have suffered. Keep copies of your medical records.
- Know your own auto insurance policy. Contact your own car insurance company to learn about your policy. Find out if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.
- File a claim with help from an Arizona car accident attorney. An insurance company – even your own – may try to take advantage of you during the claims process. Get help protecting your rights by contacting a car accident lawyer in Arizona.
Dealing with a car accident case that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist is difficult. An Arizona car accident lawyer can give you information about your rights and guide you down the road to recovery.