Most people understand that you have to have insurance on your automobile if you want to remain legal on New Mexico’s roadways. However, do you know the state’s requirements when it comes to uninsured and underinsured insurance? The reality is that there are plenty of uninsured drivers on the roadway, and even individuals with insurance may not have enough coverage to cover all expenses of those involved in a crash. Here, we want to discuss the uninsured and underinsured insurance requirements in New Mexico so you can make adjustments to your policy as needed.
What Auto Insurance is Required By Law in New Mexico?
Every state requires that drivers carry automobile insurance so they can operate legally on the roadways. However, not every state requires the same types and amounts of insurance. In New Mexico, all drivers are required to carry the following types and minimum amounts of automobile insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: Minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: Minimum of $10,000 per accident
As you can see, the types of insurance required in this state are relatively basic. Bodily injury and property damage liability coverages are important, but they only go so far. In the event an individual sustains an injury caused by another driver, those minimum amounts are not going to be enough, particularly if the incident is anything more than a minor crash. Individuals who finance their vehicle or lease a vehicle will likely have to carry additional types of insurance, including gap coverage, collision coverage, etc.
Notably absent on the list of required types of insurance is uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverages.
Why Uninsured Motorist Insurance is Important
In the event an individual is injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, their ability to recover compensation for their losses becomes complicated. According to data available from the Insurance Information Institute (III), we can see that New Mexico ranks near the top of the list when it comes to the percentage of drivers in the state who do not have insurance. Approximately 22% of all drivers in New Mexico are uninsured.
This is a problem. The annual traffic report provided by the New Mexico government and The University of New Mexico indicates that there were approximately 48,000 total vehicle accidents across the state during the latest reporting year. Accidents involving uninsured drivers do occur, and victims of these crashes need to have some way to recover compensation for their losses.
Even though New Mexico does not require individuals to carry any type of uninsured motorist coverage, which strongly recommended that all drivers purchase this type of coverage so that they will have a way to pay their injury and property damage expenses if they are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
In the event an individual chooses not to carry uninsured motorist coverage and is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, one of the only ways to recover compensation will be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, this may not bring much success. If a person does not have the money available to pay for automobile insurance, they very likely do not have the financial ability to pay any type of personal injury judgment against them.
Underinsured motorist coverage works to pay for any injury or damage expenses not paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. As we mentioned above, the minimum insurance amounts required in NM are not much, so any moderate to severe crash is likely to rise above the limits. Uninsured insurance can help make up the difference. For more information, contact an Albuquerque car accident attorney at Ring Jimenez P.C. today.