Your Car Accident Recovery Depends On The Amount Of The Other Driver’s Insurance Limits

Car insurance paperwork

Illinois and Missouri are both "fault" car accident states, meaning the at-fault driver’s car insurance pays for a crash, and both states have minimum amounts of required insurance for each driver. In Illinois, drivers must have $25,000 for bodily injury for one person and $50,000 for total bodily injury for a single accident, plus $20,000 for property damage. In Missouri, drivers must have $25,000 for bodily injury for one person and $50,000 for total bodily injury for a single accident, plus $10,000 for property damage.

However, there is usually no upper limit to the amount of coverage a driver can purchase. This is important because recovery in an injury case can be limited to the maximum amount of available insurance. Usually, the higher the insurance limit, the higher the potential recovery.  While it is possible to obtain a verdict against the at-fault driver, trying to collect against the personal assets of an at-fault driver can be difficult. 

How to Find Out an at-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage Limits

While the at-fault insurance company is required to disclose the policy limit to the policyholder, they are not required to tell third parties making claims until certain conditions are met, which can cause a delay.

If you are filing an injury claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company, you may be able to discover the policy limit by:

  • Asking the other driver directly. The at-fault driver may share his or her policy limits during the exchange of contact information and insurance details after a crash. If the information isn’t included in your notes, you may be able to get the information simply by calling the driver and requesting it.
  • Asking the other driver’s insurance representative. When you file a claim with the other driver’s insurer, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. You can request the information from the adjuster, but the driver will need to authorize the request.
  • Asking your own insurance company for help. If the other driver’s adjuster refuses to disclose the limit, you can try asking your own car insurance provider to get the information for you. Your own insurer will have a vested interest in discovering the limits, since they could potentially be stuck with the bill if the other driver’s insurance refuses to pay.
  • Sending an official demand. If you are sure of the exact amount of the costs of your accident, you could attempt to resolve the case by sending a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. A demand letter is not just a request to disclose the policy limit, but offers to settle your case for the full policy limit. Since this will likely bar you from any further compensation, it is best to speak to an attorney before sending a demand letter.
  • Suing the at-fault driver. Once a lawsuit has been filed against the negligent driver, the insurance company must provide a copy of the policy to your attorney, which will include the policy limits.
It is vital that victims know the full amount of available insurance before settling a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you are having trouble with an insurer after a crash, our attorneys can listen to your story and advise you on your legal rights. Download your FREE copy of one of our books: When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases, or The Missouri Car Crash Guide: Don't Wreck Your Car Crash Case! and contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.