Accidents are bound to happen. This is why we have insurance. Insurance financially protects us from the cost of damages and injuries caused in accidents, whether we’re at fault or not. Despite this, many drivers risk driving without car insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, over 12.6 percent of motorists in the U.S. are uninsured.
If you’re one of the millions of motorists driving without insurance, you should know that there are serious penalties associated with getting in an accident when not covered by an insurance policy. You could have your vehicle registration or driving license suspended, be slapped with hefty fines or have to serve jail time.
Even worse, you may be sued and have to pay for injuries and damages caused in the accident out of your pocket. These can be very costly.
The cost of accidents to uninsured drivers
Having adequate car insurance is for more than just the fulfilment of the law. Car insurance goes a long way in protecting your finances and assets in case of an accident for which you can be held liable. Car insurance allows you to pay a small amount now so that you won’t have to pay a large amount in case of an accident.
The National Safety Council estimated in 2012 that out-of-pocket expenses for car accidents to be between $8,900 on average for each property damage crash, $78,900 for each injury and 1.4 million in the case of each death.
Uninsured motorists should be even more worried as costs for medical care and repairing damages continue to rise. According to a 2014 Insurance Research Council study, medical costs for injuries resulting from auto accidents are rising much faster than inflation. The study revealed that out-of-pocket expenses have risen by 4 percent between 2012 and 2014.
Apart from compensating for injuries and property damage, you will also have to factor in legal fees if you are sued, as well as the cost of paying tickets and towing expenses. These costs all add up to hefty fees that can devastate your finances.
What to do when you’re in an accident
If you’re the uninsured driver and are involved in an accident, it’s tempting to want to leave the police out of the matter. However, make sure you’ve filed a written report with law enforcement to protect your rights. You may not be at fault and could receive compensation from the other party.
If you are found at fault, it is still important to have a written statement. This will be used as proof of what occurred in case you are sued. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
Depending on the nature of the accident, you can negotiate for a payment schedule through the insurance company of the other driver. This may provide a bit of a cushion in making payments.
Get car insurance
Car insurance quotes compare websites like CoverHound are good places to start in the insurance shopping process. There are companies that will be willing to provide you with car insurance even after an accident.
It is important to be honest and let them know about any incidents you’ve been involved in. Doing so will give you an accurate quote for car insurance. It will also keep your insurance rates from soaring later on when the car insurance company discovers your driving history.