Legally, every driver in the USA is required to have at least liability coverage. If they cause an accident, liability coverage kicks in to help cover the property damage and injury bills of the other people involved in the accident. Unfortunately not everyone follows the law and fulfills their legal obligations.
In fact, if you are involved in an accident, the chances that the other driver will be uninsured can go as high as 28% in certain states (source http://www.insurance-research.org/research-publications/uninsured-motorists-2011-edition-march-2011). Recent research conducted by the Insurance Research Council concluded that 1 in 7 motorists on average do not have proper insurance. So as you can see, your odds of being hit by an uninsured motorist can be quite high.
Before you are hit by an uninsured driver, you should consider adding Full or Uninsured Driver’s Insurance to your policy. Things will go much smoother for you depending on what kind of insurance you have.
If you have full coverage auto insurance, then you will have collision coverage. This will pay for repairs and replacements to your car after an accident, regardless of who is at fault and can get you out of this kind of a situation. However, if you do not have full coverage then there are other forms of coverage that would be useful.
Uninsured motorist coverage, like the name suggests, is designed specifically for drivers who don’t have full coverage. It is highly recommended that you get it, especially if you live in a state with a high percentage of uninsured drivers. However, keep in mind that uninsured motorist coverage usually only pays for expenses related to bodily injuries. If you would like uninsured motorist coverage that also includes property damage you should ask for it specifically from the insurance company or insurance agent your are purchasing your policy from.
No matter what kind of insurance you have, there are a few things you should always do when you are hit by another car:
1) Obtain Other Driver’s Information
The first thing to do is to get the details of that driver. There is a high chance that an uninsured motorist might not want to stick around after causing an accident, so if you see the driver fleeing the scene make sure that you at least get the license plate of the car. If the driver does remain at the scene of the accident, then take down all of their details: name, address, plate number etc. If there were any witnesses, be sure to get their names and contact information before they leave the scene of the accident.
2) Call for Assistance
You will need to contact various services. If someone is injured, call for an ambulance. Otherwise start with the police. You should also get your insurance company on the phone to let them know what happened and they will advise you on what to do next.
3) Document the Accident
While you are waiting for the police to arrive you can gather as much information about the accident as possible: details about the people involved, plenty of pictures of the damages on your car, skid marks, car positions etc. When the police arrive you can let them handle things, but make sure to get a copy of the police report as you will need it for insurance purposes.
There is a chance that things will eventually work out well for you: the other driver could pay for the damages out of their pocket or your insurer will accept your claim etc. However, do not count on it. It is entirely possible that you might have to take the case to court in order to get a satisfactory resolution. This should be a last resort, however, as it will cost you time and money.