Review Your Auto Insurance Policy
If you drive a vehicle in Wyoming, you need auto insurance to satisfy your lender, protect your assets, and comply with state minimum liability insurance requirements. It is highly recommended that you review your auto policy on a regular basis to ensure you have the protection you need. The minimum coverage required by law is usually not enough for most people.
What Are the Mandatory Requirements in Wyoming?
Like all states in the U.S., Wyoming has financial responsibility laws. At a minimum, drivers are required to carry liability insurance with limits of:
- $25,000 per injured person bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident bodily injury
- $20,000 property damage
Why Minimum Liability Insurance Is Not Usually Enough
It can be tempting to buy the minimum amount of car insurance required by law, but this may not protect you if you are involved in an accident. For example, suppose:
- You are rear-ended by another driver who is clearly at fault for the accident, but has no auto insurance and very little in the way of assets. You suffer soft tissue injuries and your vehicle is damaged in the collision. With only minimum liability insurance as required by law, you may be on your own with your medical expenses and car repairs.
- You are found to be at fault for a wreck that caused minor injuries to the other driver and damage to both vehicles. Your state-required minimum liability insurance will cover up to $25,000 for the other driver’s injuries and up to $20,000 for damage to the other driver’s vehicle, but does nothing to protect you or your own vehicle.
- You are parked in an open lot when a hailstorm hits, and your vehicle is severely damaged. If you are carrying only state required minimum liability insurance, the damage will not be covered under your auto policy.
What Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a component of your auto insurance policy designed to protect you and your passengers in an accident caused by a driver who has uninsured or does not have enough insurance to pay for the extent of your injuries. It can also protect you after a crash caused by a hit-and-run driver. Although you are not required by law to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it is the best way to help ensure your medical expenses and property damage will be covered if another driver causes a crash.
What Types of Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Are Available?
There are basically four different types of uninsured and underinsured motorist auto insurance coverage:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury covers injuries if you or your passengers are hurt in a wreck caused by an uninsured driver.
- Uninsured motorist property damage covers damage to your vehicle if the driver who hit you had no insurance.
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury covers injuries suffered in a crash caused by another driver, if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover him or her.
- Underinsured motorist property damage covers damage to your vehicle if the at-fault driver’s policy limits are too low.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Liability Coverage?
If you are involved in an accident and found liable for someone else’s damages, state-required minimum liability insurance may not be enough. Medical care costs are high, and treatments for bodily injury are costly. If the driver and/or a passengers in the other vehicle were seriously hurt, medical costs could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the other driver’s car was a newer model and totaled in the crash, $20,000 (the state minimum) is not likely to cover the property damage, and you, as an individual, will be responsible for paying the excess.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
There are some steps you can take to help protect yourself in case of auto accident:
- Add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your auto policy: This will provide protection in case a driver who causes an accident with you is uninsured, or your damages are more than the at-fault driver’s policy will cover.
- Raise your policy’s liability limits: This can help protect you against personal responsibility for the other driver’s (and/or passengers’) bodily injury and property damage if you are found liable for an accident.
- Include comprehensive coverage: Also known as “other than collision” coverage, comprehensive can help protect you against damage to your vehicle caused by accidents with animals (for example, when a deer runs out in front of your vehicle), in addition to theft, vandalism, and weather damage.
- Speak with a Gillette personal injury lawyer: If you have been injured in a car crash, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., we offer a free case strategy session to review your legal options. We handle car accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay us no fees until we win recovery for you. Contact us at (307) 257-7800.
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