What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

August 24, 2022

You have insurance to cover damages you may cause in an accident. You also have insurance to cover yourself if you cause an accident. But what happens when another driver is at fault, yet they don’t have enough insurance to cover the damages? Sure, you could sue them but that could take years and who knows if you’ll get compensated.

That’s why you need uninsured motorist coverage. It protects you in the event that someone else causes an accident and doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages.

What Uninsured Motorist Covers

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you should the person that is at fault for the accident not have any liability coverage. This is different from underinsured motorist coverage. In that case, your insurance would jump in and help if the person at fault doesn’t have enough coverage. In other words, the damages from the accident cost more than the coverage that the driver bought on their insurance plan.

You can purchase two types of uninsured motorist coverage:

  • Uninsured Bodily Injury Coverage – This coverage may help you pay for any medical expenses or other injury-related expenses that occur as a result of the accident. It may also help you cover the cost of your lost wages due to your inability to work following the accident.
  • Uninsured Property Damage Coverage – This coverage may help you pay for the damages that occurred to your car that the at-fault driver cannot cover. Keep in mind that this coverage does not protect you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Do You Have to Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Depending on where you live, you may be required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Right now 21 states require that you carry uninsured motorist coverage. These same states require that every driver carries liability insurance, but 12% of drivers in the United States don’t carry it.

What Alternative Choices do you Have?

If uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in your state, what alternatives do you have if you choose not to buy it?

  • Health insurance – If you carry good health insurance, you may get coverage for your injuries and medical care under this policy. You may have to prove that there isn’t any other insurance policy covering the damages first, but you can eventually get medical insurance to cover the damages according to your policy.
  • Car insurance – Your car insurance (collision coverage) may cover the damages to your car if the person at fault doesn’t have proper coverage. You will have to pay your deductible first, which will cost you out of pocket but it will be less than covering the damages out of pocket on your own.

It’s in your best interest to pay for uninsured motorist coverage. If you are worried about the cost, shop around with different insurance companies to see who offers you the best deal. Even though this coverage will add to the cost of your premium, it will cost you much less than if you had to cover the cost of an accident out of pocket. You can think of it as protecting yourself against the worst possible outcome. If you don’t need it, then you can consider yourself lucky.