If I Am in a Car Accident When the Other Driver Has No Insurance, Who Pays For the Damages That I Sustain?

If you are in a car accident when the other driver has no insurance in Iowa, you still have options that will allow you to recover damages. In Iowa, you have the option to purchase uninsured motorist coverage as a part of your car insurance policy. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance policy may cover the damages from your accident even if the other driver was at fault.

Iowa Auto Insurance Requirements

In Iowa, automobile owners are required by law to maintain insurance that provides minimum liability coverage. The minimum liability coverage must include $20,000 of payments for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident; $40,000 of payments for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and $15,000 of payments for injury or destruction to another's property in any one accident.

It is illegal to own and operate a vehicle in Iowa without this minimum amount of auto insurance. This basic coverage ensures that you can pay for harm that you may cause others while driving. However, most drivers choose to carry additional insurance that will help pay for damages to their property as well. Drivers may also choose to carry:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage - which covers your expenses if you are in a car accident when the other person has no insurance or inadequate insurance.
  • Comprehensive coverage - covers damage to your car that is caused by fire, hail storms, or other events that may not be covered by liability insurance.
  • Collision coverage - If you collide with an object, such as a fence or a tree, collision coverage will pay for the damage your car sustains.
  • Medical payment coverage - if you are in an accident and your passengers require medical treatment, this coverage will pay for their medical treatment.

Who Pays for Damages in a Car Accident When the Other Driver Has No Insurance?

Although you are required to have minimum insurance to own and drive a car in Iowa, not all drivers adhere to the law. Some drivers do not have insurance or have inadequate insurance to pay for the damages they cause in an accident. If you are in a car accident when the other person has no insurance, you may be out of luck. The driver who caused the accident is responsible for your damages. However, without an insurance company to pay for the damages, it will be difficult for you to recover any money. You will likely have to file a lawsuit, which is a lengthy and costly process.

Another way you can recover damages in a car accident when the other driver has no insurance is through your own insurance policy. If you chose to include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage with your insurance policy, your insurance company will cover your damages up to a certain amount. The amount your insurance will pay in the case of a car accident when the other person has no insurance depends on the amount of coverage you chose to purchase as an addition to your minimum insurance.

Do You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

You can determine if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage by reading your insurance policy or speaking to your insurance agent. Although uninsured and underinsured coverage is not required in Iowa, insurance companies are required to offer you at least $20,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, with a cap of $40,000 per accident. To decline this coverage, you must specify in writing that you do not want it. If you do not remember rejecting your insurance company's offer of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it is likely that you have it.

If you do not remember rejecting your insurance company's offer of uninsured motorist coverage, but your insurance company claims that you do not have coverage, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you. When an insurance company fails to offer you uninsured motorist coverage or get your written rejection of their offer, they may still be liable for your damages in a car accident when the other driver has no insurance.

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For the past 15 years Mr. Pothitakis has focused his practice on Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Cases. The firm has two locations, one being in Burlington, Iowa and the other in Keokuk, Iowa. Mr. Pothitakis works with many area unions and employee organizations to provide advice, assistance, and guidance as it relates to employment issues. Mr. Pothitakis provides free consultations to those with legal questions in the firm's areas of practice. In this initial meeting or conference potential clients are provided advice on their need for assistance and how they need to proceed.