Are you really covered when the other driver doesn’t cooperate with his insurance company?

So you’ve been in a car wreck and the other guy clearly is at fault.  The police officer cited the at-fault driver and he paid the ticket.  All that is left is for the other guy’s insurance to pay for the damage to your car and for your injuries.  You make a claim against his insurance company and then, lo and behold, you get a letter from the other guy’s insurance company telling you that they will not cover their driver because he has not cooperated with his insurance company.  But you did nothing wrong, and the other driver is just hiding from the claim!  How on earth is that fair and what can you do?  I’ve seen this situation so often, and many times, you can protect yourself through your own insurance.

To begin with, you need to understand that every insurance policy has a “duty to cooperate” clause.  This means that the insured must cooperate with his insurance company in the investigation and defense of the claim.  If the insured at-fault driver does not cooperate, his insurance company might deny coverage.  This can leave you twisting in the wind if you do not have your own coverage to step in. So, again, what can you do?

The best, and often cheapest, option is to make a claim against your uninsured motorist policy if you are injured.  If the other insurance company denies coverage to its insured because he has not cooperated, then your uninsured motorist coverage should step in and protect you.  If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, check with your insurance company right now, get a quote, and get covered.  It usually is very affordable, and you may be able to get uninsured motorist property damage coverage, as well.  Another option to get property damage fixed is if you have collision coverage, though it often is more expensive insurance than uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

The other huge benefit with uninsured motorist coverage is when you are hurt and the other driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to pay for your injuries (or doesn’t have insurance at all).  Your uninsured motorist coverage will cover you in this situation.

In a nutshell, uninsured motorist coverage is cheap and can be a lifesaver when the at-fault driver runs from his obligation to cooperate, or if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your injuries.

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