Being involved in a car accident is a terrible experience, whether you are at fault or not.
When it happens that you are not at fault, and you discover that the other driver does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your injuries or vehicle damages, this makes the experience even worse.
You can protect yourself against the financial impact of such an accident by having an uninsured or underinsured car insurance policy in place.
Ultimately, this insurance will cover the cost of damages to your car if you are involved in an accident with someone who either has no insurance, or not enough insurance.
Defining Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Let’s take a look at exactly what we mean by uninsured and underinsured coverage.
We will also discuss how these two coverages can help protect you financially should you have an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is an additional type of insurance that you can add to your standard car insurance policy. In some states, this insurance is a requirement for you to drive legally.
If you are injured in a car crash by a driver with no car insurance, then UM will help you pay for your expenses.
There are two different types of uninsured motorist coverage. These include uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage and uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage.
You can add both these coverages to your car insurance policy.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI)
This insurance is designed to protect you financially and cover your medical expenses after an accident with a driver who does not have insurance in place.
If you are injured in an accident by a driver who does not have car insurance, then UMBI will provide you with financial compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses.
- Funeral expenses.
- Loss of income.
- Pain and suffering.
If you don’t have UMBI coverage in place and you do have a car accident with an uninsured driver, you would need to pay for your medical expenses yourself.
In this instance, if you have enough other insurance coverage in place, you may be able to claim under medical payments, personal injury protection, or even from your own medical insurance.
UMBI will also help cover other nonmedical expenses that you may have, such as pain and suffering or funeral expenses.
UMBI is usually expressed as two numbers, such as 100/300. These numbers translate to:
- $100,000 bodily injury coverage per person.
- $300,000 bodily injury coverage per accident.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD)
If you have a car accident with an uninsured driver, UMPD will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
If your auto insurance policy doesn’t include UMPD coverage or collision coverage, then you would need to pay for the repairs after an accident yourself, or file a legal claim against the other driver in court.
Key Point: What Is Collision Coverage?
If your vehicle collides with another vehicle, or an object such as a telephone pole, fence or another structure, collision coverage will pay for any repairs to your vehicle.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is only available in certain states. This coverage helps to protect you financially in the event that you are involved in an accident with another driver who does not have enough liability insurance to pay for your damages or injuries.
UIM is broken down into the same categories as UM—bodily injury and property damage coverage.
Key Point: What Is Liability Insurance?
Liability insurance is the most basic type of insurance that you will need to be able to drive legally, and is required in most U.S. states.
The only states where this insurance is not mandatory are Florida and New Hampshire.
This insurance is intended to cover you financially if you are found to be at-fault in a car accident and are responsible for someone else’s injuries or property damage.
Liability coverage limits are usually represented as three numbers, for example: 25/50/25.
These numbers correspond to how much cover you have in place for:
Bodily injury liability protection covers the medical bills of the other person. In some cases it may even cover lost wages or legal fees.
Property damage liability protection covers any damage to property such as vehicle repairs or replacement costs, or fences and other structures that may have been damaged.
Do I Need Uninsured or Underinsured Coverage in My State?
There are 22 states in which UM is specifically required. In these states, you will have no option but to have UM in place.
If you live in a state where UM and UIM are not required, you could still have the option to purchase it and protect yourself financially.
In the table below, we list all the states and their specific requirements regarding underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage.
|State||Requirements for buying UM or being offered UM||Can you reject UM in writing?||Minimum UM coverage amount|
Is UMPD required?
If so, what is the minimum coverage amount?
|Alabama||Must be offered||Yes||*25/50||No||N/A|
|Alaska||Must be offered||Yes||50/100||You can reject UMPD in writing; $25,000 minimum if you buy it||$250|
|Arizona||Must be offered||Yes, on a state-approved form||**UM 25/50||No||N/A|
|Arkansas||UM must be offered. UIM must be offered if you buy UM.||Yes||UM 25/50||You can reject UMPD in writing; $25,000 minimum if you buy it||$200|
|California||Must be offered||Yes||15/30||You can reject UMPD coverage||If you have collision coverage, UMPD only pays the deductible not covered by collision insurance, up to $3,500.|
|Colorado||Must be offered||Ye||25/50||May be offered at your request||N/A|
|Connecticut||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||No||N/A|
|Delaware||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||Acceptance of UM includes UMPD; $5,000||$250 (unless otherwise agreed in writing)|
|District of Columbia||UM is required||You can reject only UIM||UM 25/50||Yes; $5,000||$200|
|Florida||Must be offered||Yes||10/20||N/A||N/A|
|Georgia||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||Yes; $25,000||$250, $500, or $1,000|
|Hawaii||Must be offered||Yes||UM 20/40||N/A||N/A|
|Idaho||Must be offered||Yes||UM 25/50||N/A||N/A|
|Illinois||Required||No||UM 25/50||UMPD must be offered if you do not have collision insurance (you can reject in writing); $15,000||$250|
|Indiana||Must be offered||Yes||UM – 25/50 UIM – $50,000||You can reject UMPD; $10,000||Choose no deductible or a max of $300; deductible waived if your car was hit while legally parked and unoccupied|
|Iowa||Must be offered||Yes||UM 20/40||N/A||N/A|
|Kansas||Required||You can only reject coverage that exceeds 25/50||25/50||N/A||N/A|
|Kentucky||UM must be offered; UIM is available upon request||Yes||25/50 or a $60,000 single limit for both UM and UMPD||N/A||N/A|
|Louisiana||Must be offered||Yes||15/30||UMPD available but not required||$250|
|Maryland||Required||N/A||30/60||UMPD is required; $15,000||UMPD is required; $15,000|
|Mississippi||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||UMPD can be rejected; $25,000 minimum if you buy it||$200|
|Montana||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||N/A||N/A|
|Nevada||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||N/A||N/A|
|New Hampshire||Must be offered||You can reject UM in excess/umbrella policies only||25/50||Yes; $25,000||N/A|
|New Jersey||Required on standard policies||N/A||UM 15/30||Yes; $5,000||N/A|
|New Mexico||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||Yes; $10,000||$250 maximum|
|New York||UM required, UIM is optional||N/A||25/50 for injury, 50/100 for death||N/A||N/A|
|North Carolina||UM required. UIM required if UM coverage exceeds 30/60||N/A||UM 30/60||Yes; $25,000||$100|
|Ohio||An insurer decides whether to offer it||N/A||25/50||Available upon your request, not to exceed $7,500||$250|
|Oklahoma||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||N/A||N/A|
|Oregon||UM is required. UIM is required if UM coverage is more than 25/50||N/A||25/50||Yes; $20,000||$200; $300 in hit-and-run claims|
|Pennsylvania||Must be offered||Yes||15/30||N/A||N/A|
|Rhode Island||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||Not required but $25,000 minimum coverage if you buy it||$200|
|South Carolina||UM is required||You can reject UIM||25/50||Yes; $25,000||$200|
|Tennessee||Must be offered||Yes||25/50 or a $60,000 single limit||Yes; $15,000||$200|
|Texas||Must be offered||Yes||30/60||Yes; $25,000||$250|
|Utah||Must be offered||Yes||25/65 for UM; 10/20 for UIM||Required if you do not have collision coverage||$250|
|Washington||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||Required if you don’t have collision coverage, minimum of $10,000 in coverage||$100; $300 for hit-and-run claims|
|West Virginia||UM is required; UIM is optional||N/A||25/50||Yes; $10,000||$300|
|Wisconsin||UM is mandatory||UIM can be rejected||25/50 for UM; 50/100 for UIM||N/A||N/A|
|Wyoming||Must be offered||Yes||25/50||N/A||N/A|
* When 25/50, or a similar number for each state is mentioned in this table, we are referring to:
- Bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury coverage of at least $50,000 per accident
** When UM 25/50 or a similar number for a state is mentioned in this table, we are referring only to uninsured motorist coverage for that state. This covers:
- Bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury coverage of at least $50,000 per accident
How Do You File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim?
Filing a claim for UM and UIM can be complicated. The reason for this is that your insurer is essentially taking the place of the other driver’s insurance company, and proving your case may be tricky.
Your insurer may also only be willing to pay if the other driver is largely responsible for your injuries. A court judgment may be required to determine the extent of your fault in the incident.
In addition to all of this, your claim payout may be governed by the negligence law in your state.
Prepare the following information to help motivate your case:
- A full written explanation of the event.
- Photos of the scene, damage to cars, and injuries.
- Records of medical examinations and bills.
- Proof of lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss work.
Once you have made a claim, the following will take place:
- You will hear back from your insurer within the timeframe that is set in your policy schedule.
- You may need to discuss the incident with a liability claims adjuster.
- Your insurer will request that you waive all future rights to pursue the other driver for any further payments once a settlement has been reached. You will need to ask an attorney to review the settlement and release agreement on your behalf and only sign it when you are ready.
Get Cheap Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Today with CheapInsurance.com
If you would like to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident where the other driver does not have sufficient insurance, or if you need UM and UIM in your state, it will be worthwhile to shop around for the best rate on this car insurance.
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