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How To Get More Out of
Car Accident Policy Limit (3 Step Guide)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Filing an insurance claim after a car accident can be frustrating. You may face obstacles from the insurance company and other sources that make it difficult to receive the compensation you need to recover.

Valuing your claim and dealing with the at-fault driver's insurance coverage restrictions can be difficult. But, there are still options to get compensated for more than the limited coverage if your losses exceed it.

As a legal attorney with years of experience, I will explore the options you can pursue to maximize your compensation.

Quick Summary

  • To obtain more compensation than the insurance policy limit for car accident injuries, you can seek underinsured motorist coverage, negotiate with your insurance company, consider other liable parties, or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
  • While it may not be common, car accident settlements can sometimes surpass the limits of auto liability insurance coverage.
  • If the driver who caused the accident has sufficient personal assets, it may be possible to negotiate a settlement where the insurance company pays the maximum amount covered by their policy, and the driver is responsible for paying the rest of the compensation.

How То Get More Than Policy Limits For Your Car Accident Injuries?

An injured woman due to car accidentTo get more than policy limits for your car accident injuries, you can pursue several avenues. One option is to seek underinsured motorist coverage, which provides additional coverage if the at-fault driver's policy limit is insufficient to cover your damages [1].

Additionally, you can negotiate with your insurance company, consider other negligent parties, or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

By pursuing these multiple avenues, you can increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your serious injuries.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you explore these options and guide you through the legal process.

How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed The Policy Limits?

Cars that has been in an accidentAuto accident settlements exceed the policy limits quite often. This is because most people carry limited vehicle coverage, and courts and insurance companies usually respect this limit. However, this doesn't mean you can't get more than the policy limits in some cases.

However, it is unlikely for single-policy auto accident settlements to surpass the insurance policy limits. Insurance companies usually do not agree to pay car accident settlements beyond their contractual obligations.

If the compensation you are eligible for exceeds the limit of the at-fault driver's insurance policy, there are several options you can explore. Pursuing multiple avenues may help you obtain additional compensation. 

Here are some examples of avenues you may be able to pursue your car accident claims:

  • You can initiate legal action by filing a lawsuit.
  • You could research to determine if the driver responsible for the accident has additional coverage, such as an umbrella policy or coverage for another vehicle.
  • You can explore whether you can receive compensation through auto insurance policies held by multiple defendants.

How Do Insurance Policy Limits Affect Settlements?

A man from a car insurance companyInsurance policy limits affect settlements by capping the compensation you may be eligible for. If the at-fault driver's insurance policy has coverage limits that are too low to cover all of your damages, you will need to pursue other options.

In some cases, the insurance company may be willing to negotiate a settlement that exceeds the policy limit. 

However, this is not always the case. Having an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate with the insurance company and fight for the compensation you deserve is important.

Although the insurance company won't cover damages beyond the liability insurance policy limits, it's worth noting that the driver may have additional coverage.

They may have a secondary "umbrella policy" specifically to cover any excess damages not included in the primary policy [2].

Related ArticleWhat if Uninsured Driver Hit Me?

3 Options For Securing Compensation Above Policy Limits

Two individuals discussing the options for securing compensation

In general, there are three ways for an attorney to obtain compensation beyond the policy limits for their client. 

Please note that this does not typically involve the insurer voluntarily agreeing to pay more than the policy's value.

1. Settling With The At-Fault Driver

Suppose the at-fault driver has enough personal assets. In that case, it's possible to reach a settlement where the insurer pays up to their maximum policy amount, and the driver covers the remaining compensation.

Remember that this option is only available if enough assets cover the difference.

2. Filing First-Party Claims Based on Your Underinsured Motorist Coverage

You can obtain compensation beyond the at-fault driver's auto insurance policy limits by claiming underinsured motorist insurance coverage. 

This coverage may be optional in some states, but it is often included in your liability auto insurance policy unless you opt-out. That is why you need to check it with your own insurance company.

Read Also: 7 Things to Do if You Witness a Car Accident

3. Going To Trial and Suing Other Responsible Parties

A close up shot of a judge holding a gavel

If the driver who caused the accident cannot provide the necessary funds, you can pursue compensation from another at-fault party who may share partial responsibility.

These parties may include:

  • Their employer
  • A car manufacturer
  • A maintenance company
  • A government entity

Name all parties involved in your lawsuit so that you can potentially receive additional compensation beyond policy limits. If you don't follow the guidelines, you may receive less compensation. 

In a car accident trial, the jury could award damages greater than the insurance policy limit, which means the at-fault driver may have to pay for the remaining amount from their assets.

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See all related personal injury and accident lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.

"An insurance company may act in bad faith if it denies a claim even though it knows it should be approved. If the insurance company refuses to enter into a reasonable settlement less than the policy limits, a jury could award damages greater than the limits."
- Dennis VanDerGinst, Personal Injury Attorney at VanDerGinst Law

FAQs

How Does UIM (Underinsured Motorist) Coverage Assist When The Settlement Amount For Car Accidents Surpasses The Policy Limits?

UIM (Underinsured Motorist) coverage can assist when the settlement amount for car accidents surpasses the policy limits by providing additional coverage for damages that exceed the at-fault driver's policy limits. If the at-fault driver's policy limit is insufficient to cover your damages, UIM coverage can help make the difference.

What Are The Policy Limits?

The policy limits are the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for a claim. In car insurance, policy limits refer to the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for damages resulting from a car accident.

Need A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Claim?

Understanding car insurance policy limits and how they can impact settlements is essential for anyone injured in a car accident.

If the damages sustained exceed the policy limits, it can be challenging to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve.

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we understand how overwhelming it can be to navigate the legal system after a car accident.

Our experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to helping clients recover the compensation they need to move forward after a serious injury.


References:

  1. https://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/auto101.cfm
  2. https://content.naic.org/article/whats-umbrella-policy

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