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What types of coverage are available against uninsured motorists?

Although Pennsylvania law mandates that drivers purchase auto insurance, there will always be those who flout such rules and drive without coverage. So what options do Pennsylvania residents have to protect themselves against uninsured motorist crashes?

For starters, a driver can purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage financially protects the driver and any passengers in their vehicle should they receive injuries due to an at-fault uninsured driver. However, it is important to keep in mind that in general uninsured motorist coverage does not apply to property damage.

Additionally, a driver in Pennsylvania can purchase underinsured motorist coverage. This provides drivers and passengers injured in an auto accident caused by a driver whose insurance does not completely cover the costs of the victim's injuries with the financial protection needed. Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage generally does not apply to property damage.

Furthermore, it is possible to "stack" uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. This simply means that one can multiply the value of their underinsured or uninsured motorist policy by the number of automobiles on one's policy. Stacking also takes place when a person receives underinsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist coverage from two or more policies. There is usually an additional expense associated with stacking coverage.

These are just some preventative measures drivers can take to protect themselves financially in the event of an auto accident. However, one should keep in mind that in many cases, the amount their insurance pays in an accident is simply not enough to cover all of their medical bills, pain and suffering and other expenses associated with the accident. In these situations, taking legal action against the at-fault driver may be the only way to seek full compensation for the damages one suffered. Pennsylvanians who have suffered an accident at the hands of a negligent driver may seek legal help.

Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department, "Automobile Insurance Guide," Accessed May 25, 2015

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