Accidents can happen at any point while you are on the road, and auto insurance helps protect you in these situations. If you are involved in a serious accident with someone who does not have coverage, you may be unaware of how the process goes.
Common state laws prevent uninsured motorist insurance from covering punitive damages in an accident. Punitive damages are awarded in some states to penalize the at-fault party. Some states classify them as exemplary damages. Underinsured motorist coverage is different.
You are covered in the other party in the accident has insurance. However, the coverage may not fully take care of your injuries. Many states also prohibit underinsured motorist coverage from handling any punitive damages. This article will inform you about whether punitive damages are covered.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage can take care of your medical bills and lost wages if you are hurt in an accident by a driver who does not have coverage. Some states mandate insurers to include uninsured coverage in their policies. Uninsured coverage may also cover your loved ones if they were in the car with you at the time of the accident.
You should also inquire about uninsured property damage coverage. This policy covers you for any damage an insured driver causes to your vehicle. Your personal items may also be covered if they are damaged.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured coverage may cover some expenses and pain/suffering, but it’s unlikely to cover everything. Punitive damages are usually not awarded because they do not punish the at-fault party since the policy would be paid by you.
- Punitive Damage
In some cases, punitive damages are awarded to prevent others from injuring someone else. However, as previously stated, in most cases, the impacted party is the person who pays for the coverage. States that support using uninsured motorist coverage to pay for punitive damage believe that it doesn’t go against public policy.
They use data to show how punitive damages do not prevent negligent conduct. They also believe that society as a whole suffers the most because the cost of liability coverage increases. Another alternative to consider is compensatory damages. You may receive losses for nonfinancial damage, such as general pain and suffering.
- Local Laws
California drivers are not required to carry uninsured coverage. If you decline the offer of coverage, you will be asked to sign a waiver. You are legally required to obtain liability bodily, property damage, and accidental death coverage.
Remember that you should notify your insurer directly after an accident occurs, regardless of whether you are at fault or not. You also have to file a California accident report with the local DMV within two weeks if someone is injured or there was substantial vehicle damage. Disobeying the law may cause you to lose your driver’s license.
You are unlikely to receive punitive damages if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have auto insurance. However, you may be able to pursue compensatory damages. If you have any questions, contact our team of insurance experts at Young Insurance Agency, and we will assist you.