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Edited by Jackie Cohen
Last Updated June 15, 2022
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There are plenty of risks on the road that we can try to avoid: breaking traffic violations, hitting animals and people, and more. But something we can’t anticipate is getting into an accident with an uninsured driver. What happens if someone causes damage to your car or to you and they don’t have insurance coverage to pay for your bills? Optional add-ons to your policy can help.
You can add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy to make sure you’re protected against uninsured drivers. Don’t let someone else’s lack of an auto insurance policy be the reason you’re stuck paying big repair costs or medical expenses after a car accident. Insurify can help you get great car insurance quote comparisons to help you find the best deal for your needs.
- Uninsured motorist coverage can pay for costs caused by an uninsured at-fault driver.
- Property damage coverage includes damage done to your car by things like a fender bender.
- Bodily injury coverage helps with medical costs and sometimes hit-and-run accidents.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Basics
Do I need uninsured motorist coverage?
Depending on the state you live in, you may need to have uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy. Other states do no require the coverage.
Getting into an accident is never great. Getting into one where the at-fault driver has little to no insurance is even worse. Thankfully, uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for expenses for you—and your passengers—if the car accident is caused by a driver without any liability car insurance at all, without enough liability insurance, or if their insurer denies coverage.
If you get into an incident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have auto insurance to help pay for the damage or medical bills they caused, having uninsured motorist insurance (UM) on your policy can help make sure you’re protected. Some states might require motorists to have liability coverage in their automobile insurance plans. UM comes in two optional add-ons for your policy.
There are two different types of uninsured motorist coverage: uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) and uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance. Each serves its own function and has its own set of coverage limits. They cannot be used interchangeably, but having both can make sure you have enough coverage if you get hit by an uninsured driver.
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Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
Otherwise known as UMPD, this is a useful coverage option for drivers who want to protect their property—which includes their car, land, and other possessions—in case they are hit by a driver who does not have car insurance. If you don’t have collision coverage on your policy, it can be especially helpful because it helps pay for car repairs past the other driver’s policy limits.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Usually, if a driver’s motor vehicle causes an accident, they would need bodily injury liability insurance to help with the victim’s medical payments. If the at-fault driver is uninsured, adding UMBI to your policy can help cover associated costs, like hospital bills and lost wages. It can also cover you if you are a pedestrian hit in a crosswalk or potentially even a hit-and-run.
Some states require drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) in their auto insurance policies. This mandate makes it so that your medical bills and any other related expenses are covered if you get into an accident, even if an uninsured driver is at fault. However, the policy limits are usually quite low, so you should consider UMBI or even just health insurance.
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What UM Insurance Covers
Property damage and bodily injury coverage are two separate add-ons that you can include in your policy. They do not provide the same benefits, meaning you cannot get just one and expect to receive the same benefits as the other. Your UMPD and UMBI make up for another driver’s lack of property damage liability and bodily injury liability insurance, respectively.
Each coverage option has its policy limits, which will also vary depending on your state. Be sure to check your laws or speak with your insurance company if you are unsure. Your coverage limits are similar to your liability limits. For example, if your state sets $10,000 as the minimum property damage liability, then your UMPD will cover damage-related costs of at least $10,000.
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage can help pay for:
- Repair expenses in order to fix damage done to your vehicle
- Replacing or repairing damaged personal items in your car at the time of the accident
- Costs needed to fix damage to your home or other property, like a fence someone accidentally backed into
- Any other costs if the at-fault driver does not have enough property damage liability insurance
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage can help pay for:
- Medical bills related to the accident, like an ambulance or hospital fees
- The cost of medical specialists, like a chiropractor for adjustments or a physical therapist needed for post-accident recovery
- Lost wages incurred from your personal injury
- Funeral expenses in the worst-case scenario
With each of these coverage types, some insurance providers may or may not offer protection from a hit-and-run accident. In this case, no driver can be identified, which makes it difficult for some companies to follow each state’s insurance requirements. In any case, know that each type of policy and state has insurance limits on what can be covered or not, do some research.
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Uninsured Coverage by State
Each state has its own legal requirements to make sure drivers have enough insurance and are protected if they get behind the wheel. Some states can require UMPD, UMBI, both, or neither. In many cases, they at least have to be offered to you by your insurance company. In some lucky instances, your state might even waive the deductible if you file a motorist claim.
At a glance, here are the state laws for UM coverage:
|State||Is UMPD required?||Is UMBI required?|
|Alabama||No||No, but must be offered|
|Alaska||Can reject in writing||No, but must be offered|
|Arizona||No||No, but must be offered|
|Arkansas||Can reject in writing||No, but must be offered|
|California||No||No, but must be offered|
|Colorado||No||No, but must be offered|
|Delaware||UMBI includes UMPD||No, but must be offered|
|District of Columbia||Yes, $5,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Florida||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Georgia||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Hawaii||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Idaho||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Illinois||Must be offered if you don’t have collision coverage, but you can reject in writing||Yes|
|Indiana||No||No, but must be offered|
|Iowa||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Kentucky||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Louisiana||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Maryland||Yes, $15,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Mississippi||No||No, but must be offered|
|Montana||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Nevada||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|New Hampshire||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|New Jersey||Yes, $5,000 minimum||Yes|
|New Mexico||Yes, $10,000 minimum coverage||No, but must be offered|
|North Carolina||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Ohio||No, available only upon request||No|
|Oklahoma||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Pennsylvania||N/A||No, but must be offered|
|Rhode Island||No||No, but must be offered|
|South Carolina||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|South Dakota||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Tennessee||Yes, $15,000 minimum coverage||No, but must be offered|
|Texas||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||No, but must be offered|
|Utah||Yes, but only if you don’t have collision coverage||No, but must be offered|
|Vermont||Yes, $10,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Washington||Yes, but only if you don’t have collision coverage. $10,000 minimum coverage||No, but must be offered|
|West Virginia||Yes, $25,000 minimum coverage||Yes|
|Wyoming||N/A||No, but must be offered|
Data from The American Property Casualty Insurance Association
Protect Yourself from Uninsured Motorists
According to a 2019 report by the Insurance Research Council, one in eight drivers doesn’t have insurance. That can mean big out-of-pocket expenses for you, even if they’re at fault for causing the accident. Luckily, uninsured motorist coverage can help you cover some of those costs. In some states, it’s even mandated by law that these add-ons be included in your policy.
So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough coverage on your policy to keep you safe without breaking the bank? Let Insurify help! Our car insurance comparison tools give you a side-by-side look at hundreds of quotes so you know you’re getting the best deal. In just a few minutes, you can customize your policy to fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Try it today!
Frequently Asked Questions
While they sound similar, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are not the same, but they do serve similar functions. Essentially, underinsured motorist insurance can help pay for damages caused by the at-fault driver if they already have an insurance policy but not enough coverage to pay for everything they caused. It acts as a supplement to their policy.
When you buy your insurance policy, you can add either (or both) of these coverage options. You can do so by speaking with an insurance agent or checking a box on the form. Also, know that it isn’t always optional. Some insurance companies are required to include these add-ons due to their state’s insurance laws to make sure all drivers are protected in case of an accident.
Depending on where you live, it might be. Each state has its own legal requirement for the amount of insurance that each driver needs to have if they decide to operate a vehicle. If you are unsure, speak with an insurance agent, a representative at your local DMV, or anyone with expertise in insurance or insurance law. Also, know that each state has its own minimum limits.
It doesn’t matter if you get into one accident or 10—they almost always end up an unexpected cost. One easy way you can save big is by getting yourself an insurance policy that fits your needs and budget. Insurify does all the hard work to make sure you get the most affordable insurance rates by giving you a side-by-side comparison of hundreds of quotes in the market.
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