What options do I have for repairing damage caused by an uninsured driver in New York?

"I was rear-ended by an uninsured driver, so there's no question of liability, but my insurance doesn’t cover uninsured motorist property damage (not available in NY).

The damage is around $650. Is it worth suing the guy? Should I use my collision coverage instead? My collision deductible is $500."

Answer
“It may not be worth the effort of pursuing the other party directly, but you may be able to get a judgment in small claims court for the damages if you choose not to file an insurance claim.
It may be a good idea to have the insurance company do an estimate of the damages, even if you do not intend to file a claim using your collision coverage, in case there is significant hidden damage that is discovered once the repairs have begun. That way, if the estimate of repair suddenly jumps to $1,500, you can easily turn to the insurance company and utilize your coverage.
Once the insurance company makes a payment on the claim, they have a right to recover the money, and they will pursue the other party for damages. They will also attempt to recover your deductible in the process.
Most insurance companies are very good at this, but there is no guarantee that they will recover the money within a certain time frame, especially when the other party is uninsured.”
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Shannon Martin
Answered on May 13, 2021
Shannon is an expert in personal lines liability insurance with 13 + years of insurance industry experience. She also served as a special insurance liaison to AARP members for 6 of those years. She is a graduate of UL Lafayette and currently resides in NY with her family. Shannon is also an amateur juggler, ukulele player, and is a time travel paradox theory enthusiast.
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