Sure, pretty much everyone is required to have car insurance if they drive a vehicle, but that doesn’t keep some people from driving around without coverage. And, no matter how safe and savvy you try to be behind the wheel, there’s always a chance of getting into an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured.
That’s where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage step in. These coverages exist as a way to financially protect you in the event you’re hit by someone without coverage or not enough coverage to fully pay your expenses after an accident.
So what exactly are uninsured or underinsured motorist coverages and are they required? Get in the know with this key coverage information.
How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Generally speaking, if you get into an accident, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for the other party’s losses, including property damage and medical expenses. Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover the costs. But if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance or if they have the bare minimum requirements, you’ll be left covering some or all of the costs yourself.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage (UMBI) protects you financially if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who has no auto insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage can also help cover costs if you’re in a hit-and-run.
Underinsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage (UIMBI) protects you financially if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who has some auto insurance but their limits aren’t enough to cover all of your medical expenses after an accident.
For example, if you’re in an accident and face injuries that total $50,000 but the at-fault driver has insurance that only covers $25,000, your UIMBI will cover the remaining costs up to your policy limits. If you didn’t have the coverage, you’d have to pay out of pocket or file a lawsuit against the driver — which could be a really long process and no guarantee you’d get reimbursed!
Both coverages can help cover:
- Medical expenses for injuries sustained in an accident
- Loss of income
- Funeral costs
- Treating emotional and mental issues resulting from accidents
Interested in learning more about uninsured and underinsured coverage? Here’s a closer look at how these coverages can protect you on the road.
Do You Need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Since most states require every driver to have auto insurance, you might be wondering if this coverage is necessary and worth the additional cost. Remember, some drivers ignore the law and are hitting the road without proper coverage. Not only that, but even if a driver meets their state’s minimum requirement of liability insurance, their coverage may not be enough to fully cover your expenses after a claim.
That’s why some states actually require you to have uninsured and underinsured bodily injury liability motorist coverage. It’s a way to ensure at least one party can pay for expenses after an accident.
Other states offer them as optional coverages and usually uninsured and underinsured bodily injury liability motorist coverage are sold together. Even if your state doesn’t require you to carry this coverage, it’d be a good idea to at least talk to your agent about how much it would cost to add them to your policy. The price you pay for the peace of mind is well worth it.
What about damage to your car? Depending on the state, some insurance companies offer uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage to help cover damages to your vehicle if hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Though, it won’t protect you against hit-and-run collisions (that’s what your comprehensive coverage is for) and not all insurance companies offer this type of coverage.
Why Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Worth It
Is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage worth it? That’s up to you. It comes down to the importance of financial protection. Are you willing to risk paying expenses out of pocket, for instance, if someone hits you and takes off? Basically, like most insurance, having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is like having a financial safety net to fall onto.
Here are a few reasons we think uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is totally worth it:
- UIM/UM coverage can easily be built into your existing policy — and it can be as affordable as only a few extra dollars a month!
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage provides financial protection for you, other drivers in your household and passengers in your vehicle.
- Your health insurance can help pay your medical expenses, but you’ll be left to pay any lost wages due to not being able to work, or pain and suffering — things the other driver’s insurance would normally cover.
States that Require Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
About half of the states require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Take a look at the chart below to see if your state requires these coverages. Don’t see your state on the list? Check out your state requirements here.