what is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of auto insurance that protects you after an accident caused by a driver who does not have liability insurance. Similarly, underinsured motorist insurance applies when the at-fault driver has insurance, but not enough to cover the policyholder’s bills.
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key things to know about uninsured motorist coverage
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance will cover your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs up to predetermined limits.
- The two types of coverage for uninsured motorists are bodily injury (umbi) and property damage (umpd).
- twenty states and the district of columbia require drivers to carry uninsured motorist insurance, while 14 require uim.
- Even where it’s not required, uninsured motorist insurance is a good investment, especially in states with high rates of uninsured driving.
- the accident is not your fault.
- the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to pay for your injuries or property damage.
- You are the victim of a hit and run (excluding some states).
- Bodily Injury Protection: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments Insurance will cover your medical costs no matter who is at fault.
- Property Damage Protection: Collision insurance may cover damage to your vehicle, making an additional um/uim property damage plan redundant.
- Report the incident to your insurance company in as much detail as possible.
- file a police report.
- follow up with the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim and provide them with any additional information or photographs.
- wait for the adjuster to finish investigating the incident.
- accept payment if you like.
how does uninsured motorist coverage work?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage works like liability insurance. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, UM replaces the liability coverage the at-fault driver should have had in the first place. If the driver has insurance but it doesn’t cover all of their medical and vehicle repair expenses, underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) fills in the gaps.
when uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage applies
Some states only require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, while others require underinsured motorist coverage as well.
need uninsured motorist coverage?
You definitely need uninsured motorist coverage if it’s required in your state. even if uninsured motorist coverage is not required, it is usually worth the investment considering how affordable it can be. Remember that your standard liability insurance alone will not be enough to protect you in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
However, some types of coverage may offer you similar guarantees.
Learn more about who needs uninsured motorist coverage.
how much is uninsured motorist coverage?
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Uninsured motorist coverage costs between $50 and $75 a year for bodily injury and property damage. Like any type of auto insurance, uninsured motorist premiums vary based on the policyholder’s risk factors and the amount of coverage they purchase. Uninsured motorist premiums tend to be higher in states with more uninsured drivers due to the added risk.
Learn more about how much uninsured motorist coverage costs.
uninsured motorist requirements by state
Nearly half of states require at least some type of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. others require that insurance companies at least offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, but allow drivers to decline it.
If you live in a state where um/uim is not required, you may still have the option to purchase it. however, not all types of coverage are available in all states. The table below shows the minimum amounts of uninsured motorist coverage required in each state.
states where uninsured motorist coverage is required
As of July 2021 Note: New Hampshire and Virginia’s uninsured and underinsured motorist requirements only apply to drivers who choose to purchase auto insurance. In both states, drivers can legally go uninsured if they meet financial responsibility requirements.
how to file an uninsured motorist claim
An uninsured motorist claim is filed in the same manner as a regular insurance claim. however, the claim will be filed with your own insurance company rather than the other driver’s insurance company.
Learn more about filing an auto insurance claim.
difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is that uninsured motorist coverage (um) protects against accidents caused by uninsured drivers, while underinsured motorist coverage ( uim) protects against at-fault drivers who are uninsured. they have insurance limits high enough to cover all the damage they cause.
Not all states require or offer coverage for both uninsured and underinsured motorists. most only require drivers to carry one or the other, usually uninsured motorists. however, in some states, you may be able to purchase them together.
Learn more about the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
percentage of uninsured drivers by state
The proportion of uninsured motorists varies dramatically by state. It ranges from 29.4% of drivers in Mississippi to just 3.1% in New Jersey, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council.
You can find data for your state on the following map.
estimated percentage of uninsured drivers
ask the experts
To learn more about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, Wallethub posed the following questions to a panel of experts. Click on the experts below to see their biographies and responses.
1. Why is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage only required in a few states? 2. Should drivers get uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage even if it’s not required? 3. When must drivers get more than the required limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?