How do I force the defendant to tell me how much coverage they have in my Virginia Car Accident Case?

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence in a Virginia Car Accident, it’s essential that determine how much car insurance that person has to cover your claim.   

Did you know that, in Virginia, you can carry as little as $25,000 in car insurance coverage and still be “fully insured?”

While that may seem like a lot of money, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, this is a drop in the bucket. Unfortunately, when car insurance companies sell their coverage, they convince people that they are “fully insured,” when they purchase this minimum coverage.   

Indeed, many of my clients tell me they are fully insured. But when I ask them to show me their actual policies, it turns out they only have $25,000.  

(Note: as of July 1, 2021, Virginia’s minimum insurance limits are transitioning to a miminum of $50,000 given changes in our insrance laws. Nevertheless, $50,000 will still be far too low for serious injuries.)

So, how do I find out how much coverage the person that hit me has?  

If you’re reading this, likely, you don’t know how much coverage that person has. Under Virginia law, there are two ways to find this amount out: 1) sue them or 2) pursuant to Virginia Code Section 8.01-417

Under that Section, if you can produce $12,500 worth of medical billing (and lost wages), the police report, and some records to show they bills are related to your accident, the insurance company is required to provide you coverage limits within 30 days. 

If you have a case in which you’ve incurred $12,500 worth of bills, we recommend you reach out to an attorney immediately given the complexity of your case likely warrants hiring an attorney. However, some people like to handle their case on their own. As such, solely for informational purposes, here’s an expample of a letter used to request the insured’s limits.

But I don’t have that much in medical bills. What can I do?

If you have less medical bills than $12,500, it may be the case that $25,000 will be more than enough to cover your claim. If the person that injured you has insurance, they will likely have at least this much.  So, get the treatment you need to recover and just make sure you timely pursue your case.

What if my claim is worth more coverage than they have?  

If it turns out the person that hit you doesn’t have enough coverage, you can look to your car insurance policy. Specifically, look for your Under-Insured Motorist Coverage/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM/UM) policy. If it turns out that you have UIM/UM coverage, your policy will set the upper limits of your claim.

For example, if they have $25,000 and you have $50,000 UIM, then there will be $50,000 in total coverage. You would seek $25,000 against their policy, and the remaining funds would come from your policy.

Why does my car insurance matter? Won’t my premiums go up?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to look at your UIM/UM coverage, you should feel fortunate that you purchased additional coverage. For all those months and/or years, you paid a high premium to protect yourself in case someone negligent enough to injure you was also negligent not to buy enough car insurance to protect you.

And what’s great is your UIM/UM policy is a “No-Fault” Policy. That means because you didn’t cause the accident, your insurance premiums don’t go up. Indeed, it’s because of this that Abrenio Law thinks that purchasing $1 Million in UIM/UM coverage is one of the best investments you can make. Indeed, it only costs a couple hundred more dollars a year!

Still have questions?

Make sure to check out our Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Practice Pages where we’ve answered many other questions you likely have.  James Abrenio is a Fairfax-Based Personal Injury & Criminal Defense attorney who practices throughout Northern Virginia. You can learn more about James Abrenio, some of our Prior Results, and Read Our Reviews.  Make sure to contact us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation.