Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Almost all U.S. states requires drivers to carry minimum liability car insurance. Nevertheless, many motorists continue to drive without any kind of auto insurance policy.

If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, you could be forced to pay expensive repair and medical bills unless you carry uninsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy. You can protect yourself, your car, and your passengers by learning about the benefits that uninsured motorist coverage can provide.

Uninsured Motorist Map

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if get in an accident with an uninsured OR underinsured driver. It comes in two primary forms:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI).
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD).

In some states, you can buy underinsured motorist (UIM) auto insurance. Other states, however, combine UIM with uninsured motorist coverage.

What Do UMBI and UMPD Cover?

UMBI covers accident-related costs like:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages.
  • Injuries from hit-and-runs.

Alternatively, UMPD covers:

  • Car damages and repairs.
  • Damages to other property affected by the crash.

UMPD will usually not cover these costs if they are related to a hit-and-run accident, however.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Requirements

Several states require car insurance companies to offer you uninsured motorist coverage. However, in most of these states you can waive the coverage if you choose.

If you live in a state that doesn't mandate this type of coverage, you may wonder why you should pay the extra money to include it in your policy.

Consider this: more than 12 percent of U.S. drivers in 2012 were uninsured motorists. If you were to be involved in an accident with one of these motorists, they might not be able to pay for any damages or injuries that you sustained.

Adding Uninsured Motorist Coverage to Your Auto Policy

If you live in one of the states that requires uninsured motorist coverage, you more than likely already carry it, assuming you have a full- coverage policy.

If you live in a state that doesn't require this type of coverage, or if your liability- only policy lacks UMBI, UMPD, and UIM coverage, you can add it yourself by contacting your insurance agent. Uninsured motorist coverage typically only costs about 5 percent of your annual premium.

For example, if you pay $1,200 a year for full- coverage insurance, you will only have to pay $60 toward your UMBI, UMPD, and UIM protection.

Depending on your state, you can buy this type of insurance in one of two ways. You can choose to purchase it as a:

  • Combined single-limit plan:
    • Allocates a predetermined monetary amount of protection.
    • Any payouts for accidents involving uninsured motorists will be drawn from that sum.
  • Split plan:
    • Offer different coverage levels for UMBI and UMPD.
    • For example, if your insurer writes a split-plan policy of $50,000/$100,000/$25,000, it would:
      • Provide $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per person.
      • Be subject to a $100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury.
      • Cover $25,000 in property damages.

In some states, you can also stack your UMBI and UMPD coverages based on how many cars you insure.

For example, if you have one car, , your policy may be written as having UMBI limits of 100/300, or $100,000 per person with maximum coverage set at $300,000. If you insure two cars, it would be raised to 200/600 and the coverage for three cars would be elevated to 300/900.