What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage helps protect you financially in the event you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. So, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll still have coverage under your own insurance policy.
Picture these scenarios: You’re in an accident, you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, or you’re struck by another vehicle as a pedestrian. What happens if the other driver is uninsured? You could be left paying the bills, since the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance to handle your claim. That’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes in.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Cover?
Uninsured motorist coverage covers you or your passenger(s) for bodily injury if you're struck by an uninsured driver. It'll help cover the cost for medical bills that you otherwise may be stuck covering. It helps cover things like:
- Medical expenses for injuries sustained in an accident
- Loss of income
- Funeral costs
- Cover the costs of treating emotional and mental issues resulting from accidents.
This includes coverage for the insured members of your household, as well as the passengers in your vehicle. It’s all about helping restore your physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Do I Need to Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Whether you need to legally have uninsured motorist coverage or not depends on state requirements. Even if your state doesn’t require uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage, it’s still a great coverage to have on your policy to protect you from accidents caused by drivers without insurance.
Which states require uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage? There are 22:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do I Need?
The amount of coverage you need depends on a few things, but mostly it comes down to your state’s requirement, how much risk you’re willing to take and how much insurance you can afford to buy. Here are some things to consider:
- Since coverage limits for uninsured motorist coverage vary by state, you’ll want to purchase at least the minimum amount required by your state. But, to err on the side of safety, it’s recommended to purchase more than the state’s minimum limits.
- At least match your bodily injury liability coverage limits. So if you have a policy with $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $100,000 per accident, you’d have the same amount of protection from your uninsured motorist coverage.
- Consider what state you live in and find out the estimate of how many people are driving without insurance. For example, a 2017 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) discovered that Florida has the highest amount of uninsured motorists, with 1 in 4 drivers having no insurance. While this doesn’t exactly tell you how much coverage you need, it does highlight the risk of not having the right amount of coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage vs Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who has some liability insurance, but not enough to cover all of your bills after an accident, you’ll be glad you had underinsured motorist coverage. It’s similar to uninsured coverage, but in this case, the at-fault driver’s insurance typically pays for the damages up to their policy limit, and your underinsured coverage kicks in to help pay the rest.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, and you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you’ll be responsible for paying out-of-pocket for damages and medical expenses. However, if you’re in an accident where the other driver was at fault and you do have these coverages, you’ll rest easy knowing your finances are protected.
Need Additional Car Insurance Coverage?
For additional protection on the road, consider adding the following coverages along with your uninsured motorist insurance.
This is an optional coverage that can help pay to repair or replace your vehicle. Collision insurance can cover accidents that involve another vehicle or an object, like a tree.
Loan or lease assistance insurance
This coverage can be added to your collision policy in order to help pay the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe. Loan or lease assistance helps pay the difference if you have a total loss.
Medical expense coverage
If medical expenses result from an accident, Medical payments coverage can help pay for medical care for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault.
Having the right car insurance coverage means more confidence behind the wheel. Connect with your American Family Insurance agent about customizing your auto insurance coverage, and hit the road knowing you’re protecting what matters most.