Have you ever gotten into an accident that was caused by a driver with no insurance? How did that work out?

By: Mary Nelson, former Banker.

Driving without insurance is a game in California. The object is to get away with it as long as possible.

One of the several reasons I’m not fond of commuting in the SF Bay Area is the large number of uninsured drivers. I’ve been hit twice on the world famous 880 freeway (AKA Nasty Nimitz, sorry Admiral!)

The first time I was sitting in the usual slow traffic, trying to get to work , when the driver behind me in the stop and go traffic got the “go” part and missed the “stop”. Sigh. Whomp!

Nice guy though, got out of the car and inquired if I had been injured before he told me he didn’t have insurance because he was working on getting his license. Double sigh.

The second time was on almost the exact spot, but it wasn’t stop and go traffic. It was stop and don’t go, there had been an accident down the road and we were parked until further notice.

The driver behind me thought he saw an inch of room to his left and gunned his motor to get there. He forgot to notice that he was on top of my bumper when he started. Yep. Whomp. And bounced me into the guy in front. Mental words were spoken.

He didn’t ask how I was doing before he announced that his license was suspended. Of course it was. It’s against a rule to get hit by anyone with an actual license and real insurance. There must be only about 12 insured drivers in the state. And we don’t hit people, we just wait to get hit.

Both times the rear end of my Toyota Corolla wagon was rearranged quite a bit.

But I have a secret weapon. I have USAA insurance. I can’t say enough nice things about them. (Of course I have Uninsured Motorists coverage, it’s California.) I made one phone call. They have a body shop with an adjuster on site in the area, and it’s a good well rated body shop.

Both times the car was drivable, the body shop ordered Toyota parts (the insurance wants OEM parts, no cheaper substitutes) I waited about a week. Delivered my baby car to them, got a paid for rental, got my nicely fixed car about a week later. No fuss, no muss, no argument.

USAA rocks. California drivers, not so much.