Getting into a car accident can be terrifying. Regardless of the severity of the collision, a car accident can cause injury, trauma and stress that can change your life forever.

And even if you’re well-prepared to handle an accident – you have auto insurance, and you know what to do afterward – not everyone is the same. What happens if the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance?

New Jersey insurance regulations

In New Jersey, it is state law to have auto insurance. However, there are still drivers who may overlook the rules for personal reasons. In 2017, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that 13 percent of motorists are uninsured.

And if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may be wondering whose insurance will cover any damages you may receive.

Understanding uninsured coverage

After an accident, you should contact your insurance company. You may already have some luck if you have a standard insurance policy in the state of New Jersey. Standard policies include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) that can help you in a situation where the other driver doesn’t have any insurance. The minimum limit for UM/UIM coverage is $5,000.

The more UM/UIM coverage that you have, the more protected you will be. However, you cannot have more UM/UIM coverage than your regular liability coverage.

When the at-fault driver of an accident is either uninsured or underinsured, your UM/UIM policy will kick in to cover the damages. It’s important to remember, however, that you are only eligible for compensation if your UM/UIM coverage is higher than the other driver’s liability coverage.

For example, if you have $50,000 worth of UM/UIM coverage and the at-fault driver has $50,000 of liability coverage, you likely would not be able to claim any added compensation from a UM/UIM claim. But, if the at-fault driver only has $25,000 of liability coverage, you would receive that $25,000 from the other driver and have up to $50,000 of your own coverage to pay for any remaining costs.

Understanding insurance coverage can be tricky. It’s also likely the last thing you want to deal with in the aftermath of a severe accident. If you’re unsure about your coverage or whether you’ll receive proper compensation for any physical or property damages, you should consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney. They can help you through the challenging process and ensure you receive fair treatment after the accident.