Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Alabama?
Every state upholds minimum insurance requirements for all drivers. All states have unique laws for handling car accident claims as well. Alabama drivers must carry auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements, but what happens when a driver causes an accident without insurance? It’s vital for all drivers to understand how underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage works and when it can come into play after a car accident in Alabama.
All drivers must meet their states’ minimum insurance coverage requirements. Failure to do so can lead to criminal charges as well as civil liability for any damages resulting from an accident the uninsured or underinsured driver causes. When insured drivers suffer losses from underinsured or uninsured drivers, their own insurance policies will likely come into play.
Alabama Minimum Insurance Requirements
An auto insurance policy in Alabama must include:
- At least $25,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury per person in an accident the policyholder causes.
- At least $50,000 in total accident liability coverage for bodily injury or death in a single accident the policyholder causes.
- At least $25,000 in property damage liability coverage.
It’s important to note that these types of liability coverage will not pay for the at-fault driver’s damages resulting from an accident he or she causes. The driver must carry additional types of coverage to hope for any type of insurance settlement after causing an accident, such as collision coverage to pay for vehicle repairs or comprehensive coverage. All auto insurance carriers offer various types of coverage, and more expansive coverage will lead to higher premiums, making coverage more expensive to maintain.
Drivers generally also have the option of purchasing underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. If a driver causes an accident and only carries the minimum insurance coverage required by law, an injured driver’s damages may exceed the scope of available coverage. Some states uphold restrictions regarding when an injured driver may file personal injury claims, but Alabama follows a fault-based system. If a driver causes an accident, he or she is liable for the resulting damages, and any injured driver has the right to pursue a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver if insurance cannot fully cover the victim’s damages.
Deciding to Purchase Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you are purchasing an auto insurance policy in Alabama, moving to Alabama in the near future, or simply considering enhancing your existing Alabama auto insurance policy, underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage can be very beneficial. According to a 2015 study from the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 20% of Alabama drivers may be on the road without adequate insurance coverage. This means if another driver causes an accident resulting in injuries and property damage, there is a one in five chance the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage for your damages.
Some drivers face higher premium rates than others, and it may be difficult for some drivers to afford auto insurance policies that exceed the state’s minimum requirements. It’s important to find a healthy balance of premium affordability and coverage. Drivers that cause accidents without insurance face significant legal penalties as well as civil liability for injured drivers’ damages. A first offense can lead to a fine of up to $500 in Alabama, and a second offense may lead to fines up to $1,000 as well as license revocation or suspension.
Finding Legal Assistance
After suffering damages and injuries in a car accident, you may have questions concerning your insurance coverage and additional options for legal recourse. A reliable Alabama personal injury attorney can help an injured driver determine his or her ability to file a lawsuit and handle correspondence with insurance companies. For example, an insurer may deny a claim or reduce a settlement amount if they discover any evidence that the claimant bears some liability for the claimed event.
An attorney can lend authority to an initial insurance claim and minimize the chances of pushback from claims adjusters. A Birmingham car accident attorney can also help a driver understand the scope of his or her auto insurance policy and recommend additional insurance types that may benefit the driver.