Most drivers know that the first things you are supposed to do after you are involved in an accident is call the police and then trade insurance information with the other party. But what happens if the other driver hits you and then leaves or the responding officer informs you that the other driver doesn’t have any insurance?

A 2012 study by the Insurance Information Institute showed that almost 13 percent of drivers in the United States are operating their vehicles without any kind of insurance, and that means big problems for the victims of these car accidents. If someone hits you and doesn’t have insurance, that means that you will have to pay to fix your car or for any medical treatments necessary for your passengers’ injuries.

Many auto insurance companies offer the option of having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, but it’s rarely as easy as filing a claim. Insurance companies don’t always want to pay out, and dealing with the paperwork and agents when you are also trying to recover from injuries or deal with the logistics of not having a vehicle can be extremely difficult.

While carrying uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is always a good idea if you have that option, you may also need to consider taking legal action against the at-fault driver or even your own insurance company if getting the payout you are entitled to becomes an issue. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible after your accident can help you better understand your options and get things settled as quickly as possible.

Source: Nerd Wallet, “Must-Have Car Insurance for Wealthy Individuals,” Scott Johnson, May. 26, 2015