Can You Get Insurance After an Accident?

Posted: December 25, 2023

Someone seriously injured in a New York car crash due to the wrongdoing of another may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. 

The concept of pain and suffering allows juries to award money damages for the injuries and experiences wrongfully caused by another. The purpose of this award is to make the injured person “whole,” restoring the injured person to the same place they would have been but for the car crash.  

Just because someone may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering does not always mean that they will receive it. A money judgment, though enforceable in a court of law, does not, as a practical matter, mean the person will be paid the full amount of the judgment. Not everyone has enough assets to satisfy a money judgment.  

Why Insurance Is Important To Have 

In most cases, car insurance comes into play. The insurance company steps into the shoes of the person responsible for the crash and, in exchange for already paid insurance premium payments, agrees to pay for damages caused. This is known as bodily injury liability insurance, and it protects the insured from claims made by other people. This is as a “third-party” claim because the person making the claim is not insured under the insurance contract (which is known as “first-party” coverage), but instead making a claim against the person insured under the contract.  

In New York, the minimum bodily injury liability limit is $25,000 per person or $50,000 for any injury resulting in death. That is the bare minimum insurance coverage required under law, and it is often not enough to fully compensate for pain and suffering 

What Happens When Someone Has No Insurance

Unfortunately, thousands choose to break the law and drive cars with no insurance at all. Financial irresponsibility in this regard sometimes translates to irresponsible driving behavior that puts others at risk.  

Under these circumstances, it is reasonable to ask: can you get insurance after an accident? What happens if you get insurance after an accident?  

Can you Get Insurance After An Accident?

A car insurance contract cannot be purchased after the fact, as needed. In other words, if someone without insurance causes harm on New York roads, that person cannot go ahead and purchase new insurance to cover existing claims arising from the incident. Insurance premium payments are exchanged for coverage over a specified period. One either has bodily injury liability coverage in effect at the time of the crash or not. If someone purchases bodily injury liability insurance after a car accident, it will generally provide coverage for future, but not past, accidents. In legal terms, coverage is not “retroactive.”  

If the person responsible for the crash does not have insurance, that is where supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist (“SUM”) coverage can make the difference. SUM coverage is a safety net. It is a form of first-party coverage that provides the injured person with an important source of compensation in the case of an uninsured (meaning, the driver has no insurance) or underinsured (meaning, the driver has insufficient insurance) driver.  

Example Of Crash Involving Uninsured

For example, if you are struck by an uninsured motorist but you carry SUM coverage of $100,000 per person, you would be able file a claim of up to $100,000 with your insurance company. Assuming you demonstrate that your damages meet or exceed that amount, you can receive up to that amount from your own insurance company.  

This might seem counterintuitive or even unfair: Asking your insurance company to pay for something someone else caused. But it is not counterintuitive. In exchange for your premium payments, the insurance company agrees to insure against the risk that an uninsured or underinsured river will harm you. That bargained-for exchange is fair. 

SUM claims can get complicated with various policy conditions.  If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver on New York roads, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. Our attorneys have extensive experience identifying all available first- and third-party insurance coverage, putting insurance companies on notice, and helping you receive maximum compensation for pain and suffering – no matter the source. 

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