What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage & Do I Really Need It?

Throughout my 25 years of practice as a car accident lawyer with Gold, Khourey and Turak, I have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured or wrongly killed in West Virginia car accidents.  Oftentimes I am asked about uninsured motorist coverage and why I need it. Surprisingly, there are many people who drive without car insurance. If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, their lack of insurance can complicate your claim and impact the amount of compensation you can collect. Uninsured motorist coverage can help spare you this pain.  Hopefully this blog will help explain the importance of uninsured motorist coverage.  

In West Virginia, It’s the Law

Typically, when you’re involved in an accident caused by another driver, their insurance will pay your property damage, medical bills, and lost wages.  However, if the other driver is without insurance, you could be left holding the bag.  To address this situation, West Virginia law requires every driver to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage on their automobile insurance policy.  This coverage protects you and your family should you suffer injury caused by an uninsured driver by paying those damages that you would otherwise be able to collect from the other driver.

Uninsured motorist flag of west virginia and automobile insurance papers

People Still Drive Without Insurance

Over the years and to my amazement, I have learned that many, many people drive cars without insurance.  While sometimes it’s because of financial constraints or a missed bill, many times it’s because an insurance company won’t insure them. 

For example, if a West Virginia driver has multiple DUI offenses or their license has been suspended or revoked, an insurance company may decide that they are too risky to insure.  And even though it is illegal to drive a car in West Virginia without insurance, many people do it regardless of the risks. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to know who is driving without insurance until you’re involved in an accident.  If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll be glad you have the coverage.

Why Should I Have to Pay for Uninsured Coverage?

This is a fair question given that the other driver causing the accident chose not to buy insurance.  However, the risks are simply too great to ignore.  Even a fender bender can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in property damage, medical bills, and lost wages.  A more serious accident can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Unless you are properly insured, you can be responsible for paying these bills.  Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you and your family and provide you compensation for your bills and lost wages.

How Much Coverage Should I Buy?

Just like liability insurance, you are required under West Virginia law to carry at least $25,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage.  That means your insurance company will pay you a maximum of $25,000 for damages caused by an uninsured driver.  While this is the minimum you are required to carry by law, you can purchase additional coverage for as much as your insurance company will offer and you can afford.  Honestly, $25,000 is not that much coverage and can easily be used up in an emergency room visit.  Since you are essentially purchasing insurance to protect you and your family, I always recommend that you buy as much as your budget can allow.  While it might be tempting to pay less and go with the lower amount, the lack of sufficient insurance will be sure to compound your problems when involved in an accident.


What Happens to the Uninsured Driver?

The other driver will be cited by police for failing to have insurance.  The first offense is typically a fine, 30 days driver license suspension and vehicle registration suspension until insurance is purchased.  Second and third offenses can get quite serious.  Moreover, your insurance company will seek repayment from the uninsured driver for any money it paid to you.  If the uninsured driver has assets, your insurance company will file a lawsuit to get their money back.

Does GKT Handle Uninsured Motorist Claims?

Yes.  Uninsured motorist claims can be tricky, and care must be taken to ensure that your claim is properly handled, and your rights are protected.  While you may think that dealing with your own insurance company is easier, they will require the same standard of proof that any other insurance company would require.  It is important to first establish that the other party is at fault since uninsured coverage will only pay for damages caused by another party.  Second, you will need to prove that your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages are the result of the accident.  The insurance company will scrutinize your claim and will deny any aspect of the claim that they think is doubtful.  It is critical that your claim be handled by a car accident lawyer that is intimately familiar with these claims and knows what is necessary to ensure that you and your loved ones are properly compensated.  Over the past 45 years, the experienced car accident lawyers at GKT have handled thousands of uninsured motorist claims.  We understand the impact an injury can have on you and your family.  Our attorneys are perfectly suited to handle your uninsured motorist claim in a professional, trusted, and compassionate manner.

Gold, Khourey & Turak Car Accident Lawyers            

Every day we help clients injured in car accident claims and we can help you too.  If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed, in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we make it easy to contact us.  We can be reached 24 hours a day by calling or texting us at (304) 845-9750, or you can Live Chat with one of our representatives or complete our consultation form.  Our consultations are free and without obligation.  We look forward to talking with you and helping you with your car accident claim.

Christopher M. Turak Attorney Headshot

Christopher Turak

Car Accident Attorney

Christopher Turak is a partner and car accident lawyer at Gold, Khourey & Turak.  His practice includes wrongful death and personal injury, with a special commitment to representing victims injured or killed by drunk or impaired drivers.  Chris has received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is their highest peer rating standard.  This rating signifies that Chris is ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for his legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards.