Do you have auto insurance coverage? What about the other party in a car crash? When motor vehicle accidents occur, the dilemma after checking for injury is finding out if the at-fault driver is insured. If the person has auto insurance, getting paid for damages won’t be difficult to an extent.
If they are uninsured and have to pay out of pocket, it might bec0me more complicated. How, then, do you find out if a car has auto insurance? This article takes a look at this and the implication of driving uninsured in Indiana.
How Can You Find Out if a Car is Uninsured?
In Indiana, like other jurisdictions in the United States, a driver must have auto insurance. However, insurance premiums can be too pricey for some people, making them drive uninsured. For some others, they choose to disregard the law and go about without coverage.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll have to pay for the damage from your insurance coverage. In such instances, the only way you can recover your money is by filing a lawsuit with an Indianapolis car accident attorney’s help.
But no one wants to pay out of their pocket or go through the stress of a lawsuit. To avoid this, the victim tries to find out if the other driver involved has auto insurance. Getting this information requires taking some decisive steps, and it begins from the moment after the crash.
While an accident leaves people disoriented and in shock, you must do your best to find the other driver’s information. Do this before they leave the crash scene, as the more details you have, the better. Learn all you can about the vehicle, and observe its details.
Write down the VIN (vehicle identification number). It’s the most common way of checking auto insurance. If the VIN doesn’t work, use the license plate number. If both fail, get the driver’s license and address. These pieces of information would also help you check their insurance status.
Note that there is no nationwide auto insurance database in the United States. It is state-based, so you have to check Indiana’s database. But what if the person is from outside Indiana, you may ask? Then you have to check the record of the state they reside.
Who Can Search for Auto Insurance Coverage?
The first person who should search for insurance coverage is the victim. However, if you can’t do it yourself because of an injury, you can appoint someone to do it on your behalf. The person can be a witness at the scene, an uninjured passenger in the vehicle, or your attorney.
If you or those representing you can’t find the answer you need, contact the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The state’s law provides that following an accident, the drivers involved must present proof of auto insurance to the BMV. The party’s insurance provider submits the evidence electronically to ensure the validity of the coverage.
Why Should I Find Out if a Car Has Auto Insurance?
There are two types of people who get into car accidents: the car owners and friends or family borrowing a vehicle. If you fall among the second category or drive a company car, you’ll do well to find out if the vehicle is insured. Not doing this is to your detriment and will backfire if an accident occurs. In such an instance, depending on whether you had the owner’s consent or not, you may have to pay for the resulting damages. This applies only when you’re at fault.
However, if you’re driving your car, finding out if the other vehicle is insured will keep you from using your money to cover any loss you suffer. Keep in mind that losses extend to medical bills for treating injuries, among others.
What Happens if You Drive Uninsured in Indiana?
If you’re the at-fault driver in a crash and do not have auto insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for damages. As mentioned earlier, the other driver can sue you to recover damages. Also, the BMV might bar you from driving for a year, and you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee of up to $1,000. Lastly, you’ll file an SR-22 Certificate of Compliance for five years.
How Can Stewart|Phelps|Wood Help You?
Accidents are one of the least planned things in life, but having auto insurance is not. However, at Stewart|Phelps|Wood, we understand that certain events may cause you to drive uninsured. So, whether you’re a victim or the at-fault driver, our car accident lawyers can help you negotiate a settlement sum. Contact us today for more inquiries and to schedule a free consultation.