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How does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

If a driver with no insurance (uninsured) or too little liability coverage (underinsured) crashes into your car, there is a good chance you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your own medical expenses and vehicle repair/replacement costs.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 of all U.S. drivers do not have any auto insurance coverage. It is also common for drivers to only hold state minimum insurance, which may not be enough liability coverage (depending on the severity of the accident) to pay for your injuries and vehicle damages. Such drivers would be considered underinsured.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can provide peace of mind. When there is not any or enough insurance to cover your expenses, these coverages would kick-in and bridge the gap.

About Uninsured Motorist Insurance:

Uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for your medical bills or property damage due to an accident involving other drivers with no car insurance.

Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, while other states include it as an option. Some states also offer uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

About Underinsured Motorist Insurance:

Underinsured motorist coverage can help pay your medical costs and property damage from another driver who has car insurance with liability limits that are too low. In such instances, the other party’s liability will cover the maximum allowed, while your underinsured motorist coverage will bridge the gap by paying the rest.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is required in some states and optional in others, as is uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

Should I Buy Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Unless your state requires it, you may be wondering if you need to add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your own car insurance coverage. The Insurance Research Council says that 13% of U.S. drivers are uninsured. But there are more drivers who are underinsured since many states have minimum liability limits for bodily injury that can easily be surpassed by medical costs from a bad accident.

You should also consider where you live. If you live in a state with a high number of uninsured motorists, you will likely want uninsured motorist coverage, so you do not have to pay for an accident you did not cause.

Top 10 Highest States by Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Drivers*

Rank State Percent uninsured
1 Florida 26.7%
2 Mississippi 23.7%
3 New Mexico 20.8%
4 Michigan 20.3%
5 Tennessee 20.0%
6 Alabama 18.4%
7 Washington 17.4%
8 Indiana 16.6%
9 Arkansas 16.6%
10 District of Columbia 15.6%

*Source: Insurance Research Council

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