Uninsured motorists in Alabama will be subject to steep fines for failing to carry the minimum mandatory liability insurance starting Wednesday, November 1st. The new law is intended to drive down the prevalence of uninsured motorists on the road. According to the Insurance Institute, Alabama has the sixth-highest rate of uninsured motorists with 18.4% of Alabama drivers being uninsured. That rate means there are over six-hundred thousand Alabama drivers without auto insurance.Alabama has required auto liability insurance for years but enforcement has remained a lingering problem. Uninsured drivers raise insurance premiums for everyone and can wreak financial ruin in an accident.
Under the new law, an uninsured motorist will face a fine of $200 for the first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $400 for the third and subsequent offenses. If you don’t pay the fine, your license will be suspended for ninety days, and will then be subject to reinstatement fees. Policy-makers believe the new law will increase the rate of insured motorists, which will lower insurance premiums for everyone in the state.
In Alabama, every motorist is required to have, at a minimum, 25/50/25 coverage – $25,000 for death/injury to one person, $50,000 for death/injury to multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage. While these figures may seem sufficient on their face, it’s important to remember that medical bills stemming from an accident often easily exceed $100,000.
So what happens if you are injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist? You likely are covered by your own auto policy. Under Alabama law, every insurance policy sold must include uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This is protection when the at-fault driver has no insurance or an insufficient amount of insurance. Claiming under your UM/UIM policy will not effect your premiums.
While the minimum UM/UIM coverage is often enough to cover small wrecks with few injuries, it is not enough when injuries are severe. UM/UIM coverage is surprisingly affordable. To fully protect yourself and your loved ones, the Insurance Information Institute recommends purchasing $100,000 in UM/UIM per person.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, it’s important to review your rights as soon as possible with an experienced personal injury attorney. If the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, you may a legal remedy in UM/UIM coverage. Contact us today for a free consultation.