North Carolina requires drivers to have liability insurance with a minimum of $30,000 of coverage for personal injury to one person, $60,000 for personal injury to more than one person, and $25,000 for property damage. Given the cost of medical care and vehicle repair or replacement, these minimums are not adequate for a serious injury accident. However, higher levels of coverage are more costly, and a state increase in the requirements might operate as a disincentive to buy any insurance, especially among the poor. So, at best, we have a system where motorists who are struck by negligent drivers are likely to be partially covered.
We say “at best” because many drivers are driving without any insurance at all. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 16 percent of drivers had no insurance in 1992. Twenty years later, in 2012, that number had shrunk to 12.6 percent nationally. Oklahoma is the riskiest state to drive in, with an uninsured rate of 25.9 percent. North Carolina had an uninsured rate of 9.1 percent. Current statistics are not available, but our recent experience as auto accident attorneys leads us to think the rate of uninsured driving may have spiked again.
Prudent drivers guard against uninsured and underinsured drivers by purchasing an Uninsured Motorist policy. North Carolina is one of the few states that require this coverage. But even with UM, you can take a significant loss because of your deductible.
If you have UM with a $1,000 deductible, you’re going to be out of pocket for that grand before your insurance company will pay for damages. Our experience representing the victims of uninsured motorists leads us to recommend carrying a lower deductible on your UM policy. Yes, that means a slightly higher premium, but given the number of uninsured motorists on the road today, it could easily be a bargain in the long run.
How long has it been since you reviewed your insurance coverage? Before you get blind-sided by an accident, carefully review and know your coverage. If you’ve been in an accident with someone with no insurance, call us at 704-405-5505 or contact our office online.