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

UPDATED: Jul 21, 2010

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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 12 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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