In a high speed chase with the cops, a maniac driver flees from his pursuers and randomly strikes other cars and people in his path. It sounds like the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, except that it happens in real life. In fact, this happened in the Denver metro area earlier this month. Aside from the emotional toll caused by this driver's senseless act, the victims of this high speed chase are left to wonder who is going to pay for their injuries and damaged vehicles.
The first rule to remember is that when a car gets stolen, the auto insurance on that car is not responsible for the damages caused by the criminal acts of the car thief. The law treats the stolen car like an uninsured vehicle. The owner of the stolen car can seek the repair or replacement of that vehicle from his or her own auto insurance company. As to anyone who claims property damage or physical injury from the car thief's crime spree, the law requires that these victims look to their own car insurance for compensation (uninsured motorist or collision coverage).
1) COMPREHENSIVE COLLISION COVERAGE:
Collision coverage provides a guarantee that if you or someone else damages your car, your insurance company will pick up the tab. Collision coverage provides premium property damage protection. If you hit a deer, if some jerk in a parking lot dents your door, or if an out of control maniac running from the police hits your car, your collision coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle.
2) UNINSURED MOTORIST PROPERTY DAMAGE:
Colorado law requires that if an insured person does not want to pay the slightly higher price for comprehensive coverage, a lesser coverage must be offered to the consumer. That coverage is called uninsured motorist PD (property damage). This coverage will not pay for the damages to your car in every situation, but will cover your damages when someone without insurance hits your car. For example, this coverage would apply if you park your car and return to find that it has been smashed by some unknown driver who fled the scene. This coverage is sufficient, except that it does not cover instances where you might accidentally cause damage to your own car. Generally, uninsured motorist PD is not that much cheaper than comprehensive coverage, so most folks just pay the few extra bucks and opt for the comprehensive coverage.
3) UNINSURED MOTORIST BODILY INJURY COVERAGE:
As discussed above, the property damage to your car will be covered by either comprehensive or uninsured motorist PD coverage. What about the injuries you sustain because of the fleeing felon? If you are injured by an uninsured driver, such as a maniac running from the police, you need to carry uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage to be compensated for your injuries. Everyone should have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects any occupant in your car from losses caused by uninsured drivers, and even covers you if you were hit as a pedestrian. The biggest mistake you can make in purchasing insurance is to opt out of uninsured motorist coverage. It's relatively cheap and provides an invaluable layer of protection for you and your family.
In life, you cannot always prevent bad things from happening to you and your family. However, you can prepare for such events by buying the right type of car insurance to protect the ones you love. Purchasing comprehensive coverage and uninsured motorist may cost you a few extra bucks each month, but the peace of mind and security you receive is invaluable. At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we are always willing to speak with you one-on-one at no cost to discuss how insurance coverage can be used to your benefit if you have been injured in a car accident. Call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today at (303) 782-9999.