In this last part of this series, I will discuss one last method for people to protect themselves and their families from accidents caused by drunk drivers. What happens if the drunk driver is uninsured? What happens if he was drinking at home before he got in his car on the road? What happens if you or a family member is injured or killed by this type of drunk driver? How will you or your family be compensated?
Well, if there is no bar or package store involved, if there is no insurance coverage, or if the drunk individual has no personal assets to recover, there is only one way to be compensated for the damages caused by the drunk driver: YOUR UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE ON YOUR OWN POLICY. How will this help? It won’t if you don’t have such coverage or if you don’t have enough coverage.
In Alabama, you are required to have uninsured motorist coverage unless you tell your insurance agent, IN WRITING, that you don’t want such coverage. However, even if you don’t reject it in writing, you will only have the minimum of such coverage in the amount of $25,000 unless you request otherwise. Many companies will allow you to carry $250,000 or $500,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage. In addition, you may stack the uninsured motorist coverage on three of your vehicles (unless the insurance coverage is on separate policies, but that is another matter). Therefore, if you have $250,000 on each vehicle, you will have $750,000 worth of coverage if the drunk driver is uninsured or underinsured.
This does not mean that you can collect the full amount of the coverage if a drunk driver injures or kills you or a family member, but you or your family will be able to recover compensation based upon the injuries and damages up to the amount of $750,000. Isn’t this where you want to be? Uninsured motorist coverage is not very expensive, but in a state where 15-25% of the drivers are uninsured, you need to protect yourself, and uninsured motorist coverage is the best way to do that in Alabama.