Uninsured drivers can be a big problem if one collides with you on a California road. Without insurance to cover your bills, the cost of covering medical and property damage can burn a big hole in your wallet. However, some drivers, while they actually do possess auto liability insurance, may not possess enough to cover the full cost of damages if they are at fault. These are known as underinsured drivers.
Allstate explains that the exact definition of an underinsured driver varies by state. Generally, an underinsured driver is defined as such because the driver does not possess enough liability to provide coverage for all the damages he cause, if at fault following an automobile accident. For instance, if your bills resulting from an auto crash add up to $150,000 but the other party's liability only covers up to $100,000, your full compensation will fall $50,000 short.
You may not have many options if you are hit by an underinsured driver. Many drivers opt to protect themselves against underinsured drivers by buying as much underinsured motor vehicle coverage as they can. If you purchase such a policy, you can apply to your insurer for the remaining amount of compensation in the event you are injured by a party who does not possess enough liability coverage. But be warned that you can still incur a compensation shortfall if your underinsured liability coverage is not enough to cover all the expenses and damages you incurred.
Some people choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against an underinsured driver to get the balance of unpaid compensation. However, as FindLaw points out, even if you win the lawsuit, it will not amount to much if the other driver does not have the assets to pay up. Possessing underinsured motorist coverage can at least offer you a chance to close the liability gap presented by an underinsured driver.