Will COVID-19 Mean More Uninsured Motorists in New Jersey?

Will COVID-19 Mean More Uninsured Motorists in New Jersey?

Posted By Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law

24 Apr. 2020

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) made its way to the United States, things have changed dramatically. The president declared a national emergency. Schools and non-essential businesses were shut down and people were directed by local health departments to stay inside unless they needed to buy food, get gasoline, see a doctor, or pick up a prescription.

The American economy has been hit hard by COVID-19. Millions of people have lost their jobs and found themselves out of work. As the nation patiently waits to resume its normal activities and let America get back to work, utilities are giving people breaks, banks are letting people skip auto loan payments, and lenders are delaying foreclosure proceedings.

But what about auto insurance? As with any recession, whenever there are mass layoffs, a percentage of citizens will not have the resources to pay their auto insurance premiums and they’ll drive without valid auto insurance, subjecting other motorists to serious claims issues.

What You Should Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage refers to when the other vehicle in an accident has no automobile insurance coverage at all. In contrast, underinsured motorist coverage refers to when the other vehicle’s policy limit is not enough to cover all of the victim’s damages in an accident.

Do you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in case you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver? It depends on which policy you bought. If you bought the Standard Policy, your auto insurance company will cover you if: 1) you’re hit by a driver who does not have liability insurance, 2) you’re hit by a driver whose insurance company denies your claim, or 3) you’re hit by someone who has inadequate insurance to cover all of your damages.

If you have the Basic Policy, you’re out of luck. You are not protected if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. According to the Insurance: “When filing an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim it is important to remember that your company ‘stands in the shoes’ of the uninsured/underinsured driver and will only pay your claim if the other driver was legally responsible for your damages, or in other words, at-fault for the accident. Under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence law, you can only collect damages if your degree of liability does not exceed that of other driver(s) in the accident.”

Need to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim? Contact our firm todayto schedule a free consultation.

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