Approximately 1 in 7 drivers in America have no car insurance. If someone without car insurance causes an accident, then you might receive no compensation for medical expenses whatsoever: the at-fault driver has no car insurance to cover your medical expenses. You can (rightfully) sue the other driver for medical expenses. However, drivers who go without insurance typically have few assets, which can make a lawsuit difficult.
For all of these reasons, it may be in your best interest to get uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
What is Covered by Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage are designed to protect you and your passengers from the financial expenses incurred as a result of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits your vehicle and causes significant injuries, then you and your passengers might have tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Typically, these expenses – like medical bills or pain and suffering – would be covered by the other driver’s insurance company. Since the other driver doesn’t have insurance, your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage would be activated.
Some of the expenses covered by uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
Your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage will cover these expenses up to a certain limit. Some states require you to have, say, $10,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. That means your insurance will cover a maximum of $10,000 of bodily injury expenses after an accident.
21 States Require Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is available for purchase in most states. In some states, uninsured motorist coverage is optional. In other states, it’s a mandatory requirement.
Typically, states that require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage have notoriously high rates of uninsured drivers. In states like Tennessee and Mississippi, for example, approximately 1 in 5 drivers have no car insurance whatsoever. In Florida, which has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in America, more than 1 in 4 drivers has no car insurance.
21 states plus the District of Columbia have laws requiring you to have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, including Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
14 of these states require you to also have underinsured motorist coverage, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If you live outside of the above states, then it may still be in your best interest to have uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. There are millions of uninsured and underinsured drivers across the United States. Even if your state does not specifically require it, it may be in your best interest to pay a few extra dollars per month for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
When to Use Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage pays for certain medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident where another uninsured or underinsured motorist was at fault.
- If the other driver was completely uninsured, then your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage may cover all medical expenses for you and your passengers, up to the limits of your policy
- If the other driver had car insurance, but not enough, then your underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage will act as secondary insurance after the other driver’s car insurance is used up
- After your uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage is used up, your ordinary medical insurance may be able to cover any remaining expenses
Some drivers have no insurance whatsoever. Other drivers have too little car insurance: they might meet your state’s minimum liability insurance requirements, for example, but that’s it. Some states require just $10,000 to $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage. In a serious accident involving multiple passengers with severe injuries, this coverage can quickly be used up.
Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage typically consists of two things:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, which covers the medical expenses and pain and suffering of you and your passengers
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage, which covers the cost of repairing your personal property – like your vehicle – after a collision with an uninsured motorist
Typically, both of these policies are bundled under ‘uninsured/underinsured’ car insurance coverage options. Some car insurance companies label these policies as ‘UM/UIM’.
Millions of American drivers have no car insurance whatsoever. Millions more American drivers are underinsured – they have too little car insurance coverage to cover major medical expenses after an accident.
It may be in your best interest to add uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage to your car insurance policy today.