In a car accident, if the other driver’s insurance limits does not cover the cost of our car, what do we do?

My husband got into car collision; our car is total;it’s the other party’s fault. The other driver only purchased the minimum coverage ($10,000). The payment does not cover the cost of our car. How can we claim for the reminding of our car loss?

Asked on July 21, 2010 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may, unfortunately, not be able to recover, unless you have the property insurance:

1) If you have collision, you could submit a claim vs. your own collision.

2) If you have uninsured/underinsured driver coverage (which is highly recommended, by the way), then if you can show that the other driver was at fault, your own insurer, through the un/un insurance policy, will step in as if it were the other driver's insurer and pay for him.

However, without insurance of your own that is applicable, and with the other driver having only minimal insurance, your only option for recovery would be to sue the other driver and hope that he or she has enough assets (e.g. savings) or income (which could be garnished) to pay any judgment you receive. If the other driver does not appear to be solvent enough to pay a judgment, it's most likely not worth suing.

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