Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage -Protecting Yourself From Irresponsible Drivers

If you end up in an accident involving a person who doesn’t have a car insurance policy, uninsured motorist coverage – often paired with underinsured motorist insurance – can pay for your medical expenses, vehicle damage, and loss of income.

And to help you understand uninsured motorist insurance better, we’ll be focusing on the following questions:

  • What is the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?
  • How much uninsured motorist coverage should I get?
  • What does uninsured motorist insurance cover?
  • Is uninsured motorist coverage mandatory in all states?

Keep reading, and you’ll find the answers to these – and many more – questions!

Uninsured motorist coverage helps you pay for the damages caused by a driver that doesn't have liability insurance. Share on X

How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?

If you get in an accident where the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have any insurance coverage, you’d want to turn your attention to uninsured motorist coverage.

How does it work?

This type of insurance policy protects the individual – in this case, you – by providing property damage coverage and bodily injury coverage. When you’re involved in an accident, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

If it proves to be successful, you can use the gained proceeds to pay for the financial damage caused.

That’s the scenario where the driver has at least minimum coverage.

However, if the driver that’s at fault doesn’t have any insurance or liability coverage at all, having uninsured motorist coverage can help by considerably minimizing the payments you’ll have to make out-of-pocket.

Depending on state laws, hit-and-run accidents may also be covered by uninsured motorist insurance.

In some cases, when the claims don’t work, you could also end up taking the person responsible for the damage to court – which is, as we all know, a process that takes up a lot of time.

The aim is to get compensated for the damage ASAP, so to file a claim and get the process started, make sure that you have all of the necessary information.

Uninsured Vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage

There’s a difference between uninsured and underinsured motorists.

Underinsured motorist insurance represents an addition to your already-existing auto insurance. It protects someone who ended up in an accident with an at-fault driver that doesn’t have enough auto liability insurance.

In a car accident, if the at-fault driver’s car insurance doesn’t cover enough liability insurance and is below liability limits, the UIM coverage of the other driver will help cover the rest. With underinsured coverage, you’re essentially protected from drivers that might’ve purchased the minimum amount of insurance.

It’s a relatively non-expensive addition to your car policy. The coverage depends on the insurance company, though:

While some underinsured coverages apply only to motorist bodily injury coverage – meaning medical bills and lost wages – others can provide both bodily and property damage coverage.

What Is Covered?

Here are the four main uninsured motorist coverage types:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Coverage – The UMBI coverage helps you pay for damages caused by an at-fault driver.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) Coverage – This uninsured motorist insurance helps you pay for car repairs if you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver.
  • Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Coverage – The underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage helps you compensate for the damage caused by a driver that doesn’t have enough liability car insurance.
  • Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) Coverage – This underinsured motorist coverage helps you pay for medical expenses and lost wages caused by a driver that doesn’t have any liability coverage.

More precisely, uninsured motorist coverage pays for:

  • Your medical bills
  • Lost wages (if you’re unable to work due to injuries)
  • Funeral expenses (in fatal car accidents)
  • Vehicle repairs (under the uninsured motorist coverage) in some states

How Much Coverage Do You I Need?

The answer is – it depends.

If you currently reside in a state that requires you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, then you’d probably have to go with the minimum coverage – at least. The minimum limits for uninsured motorist insurance usually match your liability insurance amount. Here’s an example:

If your liability limit is $100,000 for bodily injury per person and $300,000 per car accident, then you should buy 100/300 uninsured motorist coverage.

All things considered, $100,000 is the minimum you should have.

Is UIM Mandatory In All States?

Uninsured motorist insurance is not mandatory in all states. But while buying this insurance coverage might not be mandatory, it’s still highly advisable.

Despite laws and constant awareness about purchasing auto insurance, the numbers suggest that there are more uninsured drivers on the roads each year. According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC) report, one in eight US citizens is an uninsured driver.

That said, some states require drivers to add this to their auto insurance policy, including:

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Kansas
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

** Virginia and New Hampshire are the only states in the US that DO NOT require drivers to purchase auto insurance. However, if you purchase this insurance in Virginia, you are required to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, together with property damage and bodily injury coverage.

** Rhode Island doesn’t require uninsured motorist coverage if the driver meets the state limit for bodily injury and property damage coverage. If you purchase higher limits, then you are required to purchase an uninsured motorist bodily injury portion.

Can you reject uninsured motorist coverage?

In states where Uninsured Motorist UM Coverage is not mandatory, car insurance companies are encouraged to recommend this auto policy. Still, you can choose to reject it in writing if you wish.

Should you reject it?

Our advice would be to accept the coverage if it’s offered as part of your car insurance policy. If you decide to reject it, you’ll be expected to pay out-of-pocket for the damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Which One Is Better To Have: Collision Or Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

There’s a rising interest in collision coverage.

In essence, collision coverage reimburses the insured driver in the event of hitting another vehicle, a pedestrian, or object. However, it’s important to mention that this applies only to your vehicle.

With collision insurance, you’ll have to pay a collision deductible prior to purchasing the insurance, and this can vary from state to state – from $250-$500.

On the contrary, the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays for both the bodily injury and property damage caused by the other uninsured or unknown driver who is at fault. That said, if you and the other driver share the responsibility for the car wreck, your liability claim is limited.

According to law, the uninsured motorist property damage coverage has a deductible of $250.

Should I Consider Buying Uninsured Motor Auto Insurance?

You should definitely consider buying uninsured motorist coverage as a form of additional financial protection:

You won’t have to worry about the other driver and whether they have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for the accident caused. This coverage prevents you from suffering any additional financial expenses.

You also have the advantage of “stacking” uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM):

For example, if you purchase a $100,000 policy and have multiple vehicles on it, this is multiplied by the number of vehicles you have. So, if you have three vehicles in your auto insurance policy, you have $300,000 in motorist property damage coverage at your disposal.

Conclusion

Uninsured motorist coverage aims to help individuals that have been involved in an accident with an at-fault driver get compensated for the damage caused to the vehicle and the bodily injury.

Uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses. And even though it’s not mandatory in some states, the importance of this coverage is undisputed.

The policy kicks in even when you’re dealing with a hit-and-run driver.

The minimum coverage you need is $100,000, and you have the advantage of stacking – if you have multiple vehicles in your policy, that is.

If your responsibility for the accident is split 50-50%, there’s a chance that your liability claim may be limited.

The auto insurance company is advised to recommend this coverage as part of your auto policy, and you have the freedom to reject it. You shouldn’t, though. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying out of your pocket for all of the expenses.

There’s one last thing we’d like to add:

Here, at Insurance Geek, we care about our client’s safety – and their budgets! That’s why we teamed up with some of the best carriers in the US and made it possible for you to find and compare auto insurance quotes with the help of our tool!