Can Homeowners Insurance Pay You After a Car Accident in North Carolina?
A car accident can leave you with costly medical and car repair bills. In this difficult time, you want to be able to access the maximum insurance coverage available to you.
You probably know that auto insurance plays a key role in this process. But did you know that, in some cases, you can also use homeowners’ insurance to collect additional injury benefits for a car accident in North Carolina?
Whose Insurance Pays for Car Accidents in North Carolina?
North Carolina is a “fault” state, so the standing position after a car accident is that the at-fault driver’s auto insurance pays the victim. If you are injured in a car wreck and it’s not your fault, you can typically access the other driver’s coverage to pay for your medical bills, property damage, last wages, pain and suffering, and other covered losses up to the policy limits.
Sometimes, however, it may be wiser to file a claim against your own auto insurance, even if you aren’t responsible for the accident. This is often the case when the other driver’s insurance company delays the processing of your claim, or if they seek recorded statements or try to place partial blame on you for the accident.
If you tap into your own insurance, you may be able to pay for your car repair and other accident-related expenses more quickly and avoid dealing with the claims adjuster who is being paid to oppose and minimize your claims. Your insurer can then seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.
When Homeowners’ Insurance Pays for Auto Accidents in North Carolina
Not many people know that some types of homeowners’ insurance can pay for motor vehicle accidents. If the at-fault driver’s homeowners’ policy has umbrella coverage, it may provide excess liability insurance over and above their auto insurance. Umbrella policies typically carry $1,000,000 or more in extra coverage.
However, keep in mind that in order to use homeowners’ insurance for a car accident in North Carolina, you must first exhaust the auto insurance policy. In practice, this usually only happens in severe or catastrophic injury claims that exceed the policy limits of auto liability coverage. Most homeowners’ insurance will not write an umbrella policy unless the underlying car insurance carries high limits of injury coverage.
How Can I Know if the Other Driver Has Umbrella Coverage?
You can determine whether the homeowners’ policy of the at-fault driver has umbrella coverage by looking at their auto insurance.
If the coverage limits are relatively high at $250,000 per victim and $500,000 per accident, it’s very likely that the policyholder has additional umbrella insurance. Insurance carriers insist on higher policy limits for auto insurance to keep umbrella policies affordable.
In any case, if the opposing side refuses to cooperate and disclose all insurance sources, your attorney can file a lawsuit to force disclosure through the court’s discovery process.
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
North Carolina law requires all drivers to buy auto insurance. Still, some people continue to drive uninsured.
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will need to turn to your own policy. Auto insurance includes uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. You can use your UM/UIM coverage if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or their policy limits aren’t enough to cover all your expenses and losses.
In North Carolina, uninsured motorist coverage is stackable, meaning you can collect from multiple policies for the same accident. For the crash victim, the first source of UM coverage is the policy for the car you were riding in when the crash occurs. Beyond that policy, you can also collect UM benefits from every family-owned car insurance policy in your household. This means you can collect from every auto policy issued to anyone related to you by blood or marriage who lives with you at your home address. The good news is using these UM policies will not cause any increase in your family’s car insurance rates.
Were You Injured in an Accident? Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today.
At Nagle & Associates Personal Injury Trial Lawyers, the focus is exclusively on personal injury claims from motor vehicle accidents. One of the attorneys is a former insurance lawyer with over two decades of experience serving accident victims statewide.
The knowledgeable attorneys at Nagle & Associates can review your case, explain your options — including whether you can use homeowners’ insurance for a car accident in North Carolina — and advise on the next steps. If you decide to pursue compensation, we’ll support you throughout the process.
Call us at (866) 944-4257 today for a free consultation with an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney.