When selecting your car insurance coverages, it’s natural to wonder: do I really need this coverage? No one wants to pay for an insurance coverage that they don’t need.
Among the common car insurance coverage options is uninsured motorist coverage. So is uninsured motorist coverage worth it and do you need to include it on your policy? In some states, it’s required by law, but in others, it’s an optional coverage.
You may be thinking: well, how many drivers on the road don’t have insurance? Car insurance is required in nearly every state, after all. Unfortunately, it’s more common than you may think. According to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute, 13 percent of drivers in the country don’t have car insurance. It’s even worse in certain states. In Florida, for example, more than 26 percent of drivers are uninsured.
So before you decide whether to get uninsured motorist coverage or not, let’s run through exactly what it protects you from and whether it’s a required coverage in your state.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
When you’re involved in a car accident, and it’s not your fault, the at-fault driver’s car insurance is responsible for your car repair and any medical bills you may have as a result of the accident. If the person who caused the accident doesn’t have car insurance, you’ll need to turn to your own insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection in this situation.
Uninsured motorist coverage is a part of a car insurance policy that helps pay for the medical bills or car repair if you are in an accident where the other person does not have insurance. It also protects you in the event you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
Another important coverage to understand is underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is beneficial when the at-fault driver’s car insurance has low liability limits.
Say a driver had a $20,000 property damage liability limit and they totaled your brand new truck that’s worth $35,000. Without underinsured motorist coverage, you’d be responsible for the $15,000 difference.
Looking for more information on uninsured motorist coverage? Check out our guide on what uninsured motorist insurance covers.
What are the types of uninsured motorist coverage?
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage applies to lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation for the policyholder, as well as any passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident with an uninsured driver. It also covers the funeral cost if you or a passenger in your car dies.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage also pays if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident. As a policyholder, you’re also covered if you’re hit while walking, jogging or riding a bicycle.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage covers the damage to your property involved in the event of an accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured. This covers repairs to the car and any property within the car at the time of the accident. An uninsured motorist property damage coverage may also cover any damage to your property caused by an uninsured at-fault driver, depending on the state. For example, if the driver runs over your fence or damages your lawn, the insurance may cover the damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage vs. other coverage types
There are a number of other types of insurance coverages that have similar coverages to what uninsured motorist coverage protects you from. Below is a look at how uninsured motorist coverage compares to other types of insurance coverages.
Uninsured motorist coverage vs. health insurance
Irrespective of whether the accident is your fault or not, some health insurance plans provide coverage for medical bills resulting from an accident. The amount paid by the insurance is up to your limits and minus your deductible and coinsurance costs. You may consider forgoing uninsured motorist coverage if you have great health insurance, and so do the frequent passengers in your car.
Uninsured motorist coverage vs. disability insurance
If you’re seriously injured in an accident and are unable to work, disability insurance will cover some of your lost wages. You may have short-term disability or long-term disability insurance through your employer. Both have a waiting period, though. Uninsured motorist coverage will typically cover you before disability insurance can kicks in.
Uninsured motorist coverage vs. personal injury protection
No matter who is at fault, in case of an accident, personal injury protection pays for your medical bills and those of your passengers. But personal injury protection coverage is usually very low and it’s only required in 12 states. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical and other expenses after the personal injury protection limits are met or pays for all of them, up to the policy’s limits, in the event you don’t have PIP.
Uninsured motorist coverage vs. collision coverage
Collision insurance provides coverage for damage to your car, regardless of fault. If you have collision coverage, you may be able to forgo uninsured motorist property damage coverage as it only covers you when the accident is caused by the other party.
States in which uninsured motorist coverage is required
In the table below, we’ve listed the states in which uninsured motorist coverage is a requirement. If you live in one of these states, not only is uninsured coverage worth it, but it’s required by the law.
|State||Is uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage required?||Is uninsured motorist property damage coverage required?|
* Car insurance is optional in New Hampshire but if you purchase car insurance, these coverages are required.
** Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage is only required in Rhode Island if you purchase bodily injury liability limits higher than the minimum requirement in the state, which is 25/50.
Do I need uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is an optional protection in a majority of states. However, just because it may not be required by the law in your state, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase coverage to save a few bucks. You might want to purchase uninsured motorist coverage if:
- It’s required by law in the state you live in
- It’s required by the agency that’s leasing or financing your car
- Your state has low minimum liability coverage
- You want a hit-and-run coverage
- Your vehicle is very valuable and repair or replacement is very expensive
- You want to be covered for being a pedestrian who is hit by another vehicle
- You don’t want to take the risk of being hit by an uninsured driver.
If you’re not required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, the decision on if it’s worth it is up for you to decide. But just remember, you don’t want to be left staring at a claim wishing you’d bought a coverage you opted to forgo.
Are you worried you’re paying too much for car insurance? Are you unhappy with your car insurance company’s service. It may be time to find a new insurer. See who other drivers recommend for car insurance.
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