You can be the most responsible driver out there and still end up as the victim in a motor vehicle accident. And if the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, your problems may just be beginning. That’s why you need to make certain that you have enough insurance to protect you in case “the other guy” isn’t properly covered.
Ohio Insurance Laws
Ohio is a “fault” state, meaning you have to prove that you can cover your financial responsibilities in case of an accident. Most drivers do that by carrying auto insurance. The state requires the following coverage levels:
- $25,000 coverage for the injury or death of one person in an accident you cause.
- $50,000 coverage for all injuries or deaths resulting from an accident that you cause.
- $25,000 for property damages resulting from an accident that you cause.
Although you will meet Ohio state law with this level of coverage, you will still be responsible for damages or injuries that cost more than these minimal amounts. So if you are a driver in Ohio, purchasing only minimum coverage is a gamble.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Any policy you purchase should include uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This type of insurance pays out when you are the victim of a driver with no coverage, or inadequate coverage. This coverage generally includes money for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and even funeral expenses. In some states, the policy will also cover car damage and may be required for all drivers. Ohio has not made it mandatory, however.
Even though Ohio requires liability insurance, experts estimate that about one in eight vehicles is not covered by a policy. And those drivers that only have liability insurance won’t be able to cover the damages in many accidents. That means you can be doing your part to drive protected but still have no way to pay for repairs unless you have UM or UIM coverage.
To complicate things further, the COVID-19 crisis has left many Ohioans unemployed. In June of 2020, the unemployment rate was near 11%. If you are struggling financially, you might be tempted to lower your premiums by purchasing less coverage and settling for liability-only policies. You may save a little money each month, but you leave yourself vulnerable to expensive medical bills and other accident expenses when you take this route.
Consult with your insurance company for ways to save money on your policies without exposing yourself to a huge risk. Many carriers are working with their clients to keep them covered during this difficult time. And if you are the victim of an uninsured motorist, consult one of the skilled personal injury attorneys at FDS Law. In Ohio, they are the experts on this type of accident. They can win a settlement to help you with your expenses as well as your pain and suffering when an uninsured motorist causes you harm.