There are uninsured drivers in every state, but New Mexico has more than most. According to an analysis of uninsured driver data by the Insurance Information Institute, New Mexico is fourth in the country for the highest percentage of uninsured drivers.
About 22% of people on the road don’t have an active insurance policy, according to data from 2019. In other words, there is about a one-in-five chance that the driver who hits you will not have insurance.
Typically, the at-fault driver is the one whose insurance policy pays for costs related to the crash. So what happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?
You may be able to make a claim against your own insurance policy
New Mexico only requires property damage and bodily injury liability coverage. State law does not require any additional insurance for you to legally register your vehicle. However, you can purchase more coverage than the minimum required by state law.
Many people smartly invest in uninsured / underinsured driver insurance (UM coverage) in addition to basic liability coverage. When you have UM insurance, you can make a claim against this coverage on your own policy if the at-fault driver does not have insurance. If you have UM coverage, it can also be used if the other driver hit you, left the scene of the accident and cannot be located.
IMPORTANT: Many people already have UM coverage but don’t know they have it. Also important: you can expect the insurance company to do what it can to minimize the value of your UM claim, so it is always a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you maximize your coverage.
What if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage?
While the other driver may not have insurance to pay your medical bills or fix the car, that doesn’t mean the other driver simply gets to walk away and leave you holding the bill.
Personal injury laws in New Mexico allow you to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage caused by someone else’s negligence. You can ask for a lien against the at-fault driver’s property or even a garnishment of someone’s wages if they leave you with losses and you win a lawsuit in court.
In any case, understanding your full range of options will make it easier to fight for compensation when an irresponsible, uninsured driver causes a crash.