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How policy limits can negatively affect those hurt in crashes

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Hundreds of car crashes occur on any given day in West Virginia. Many of them result in property damage. Sometimes, the damage appears to be only cosmetic, and the drivers decide not to contact the police or file an insurance claim.  Injuries from car crashes may not be immediately apparent, and you may later wish that the police had been contacted to document the crash and obtain statements and information from the drivers of the involved vehicles.

Other times, a crash can leave a vehicle in an unsafe condition, necessitating an immediate insurance claim. There are also plenty of collisions that leave people injured. If you sustain property damage or bodily injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you would reasonably expect that the other driver would cover your expenses.

If nothing else, you likely anticipate making a claim against their insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver could pass a significant percentage of the collision costs back to you unless you take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

Insurance companies won’t pay more than the policy is worth.

How much a driver pays for their insurance coverage is a reflection of both their driving record and also the amount of coverage they choose to carry. The more insurance someone has, the greater the costs for their policy. Therefore, many drivers in West Virginia carry only the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by West Virginia law, which is $25,000.

A basic policy will be helpful after a crash, but it may not cover all of your expenses. Depending on the effects of the collision and the coverage of the drivers involved, you could be left with tens of thousands of dollars in uncovered expenses. The insurance policy limits are what determine the maximum amount of compensation you can receive from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Even those who lose a family member or face a lifetime of being unable to work may only be able to collect $25,000 in insurance proceeds from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

How do you cover gaps left by insurance?

It would be unfair for an innocent driver to be left with unpaid property damage, medical bills and lost wages after a motor vehicle collision.  You can protect yourself by carrying underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy.  Underinsured motorist coverage may fill in the gap to pay for your damages if the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to fully cover your loss.

Drivers in West Virginia who can show that someone else did something negligent or broke the law may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Holding the other driver accountable for your crash-related expenses may require aggressively negotiating your insurance claim or preparing to take that driver to civil court.