What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage?
UM/UIM provides coverage for you and your vehicle if you’re in an accident (that you didn’t cause) with someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough. This also includes hit-and-runs. You’re legally required to have Liability coverage to operate a vehicle in all 50 states (unless you live in New Hampshire). But some drivers on the road are underinsured, or completely uninsured. If you’re in an accident with someone who is underinsured or uninsured, that can mean bad news for you (and your wallet). That’s where Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM) comes in.
Here’s how it works
Let’s say you’re in an accident with someone who is underinsured, and the accident isn’t your fault. In this case, the accident caused $15,000 worth of damage to your vehicle, but the driver only has $5,000 of coverage. That means the extra $10,000 would be your responsibility.
Similarly, let’s say you’re in the same accident (it’s still not your fault), but this time, the driver is driving without insurance. The $15,000 of damage from the accident falls on you to pay, even though the accident wasn’t your fault.
What does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage include?
It depends on your state’s requirements. For some states, Uninsured Motorist coverage and Underinsured Motorist coverage are offered separately, while other states have UM/UIM together. No matter if it’s offered together or separately, UM/UIM typically has two coverages: Property Damage and Bodily Injury.
UM/UIM Property Damage coverage
Also referred to as UMPD coverage, it helps you if there is damage to your vehicle after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. This also covers hit-and-run accidents. Collision coverage protects you in similar situations, but it does not cover any medical expenses as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) or UIM Bodily Injury would.
UM/UIM Bodily Injury coverage
Bodily Injury helps to cover your medical expenses and lost wages if you’re injured because of an underinsured or uninsured driver.
UM/UIM Bodily Injury coverage vs. health insurance
If you have health insurance, it may cover the cost of any injuries from an accident. Before you choose your health insurance policy over UM/UIM coverage, you’ll need to consider:
Health insurance plans typically have high deductibles, while UM/UIM coverage with bodily injury has a low (or no) deductible. Learn more about deductibles.
If you have PIP or MedPay as part of your auto insurance policy, you may not need to use your health insurance.
How much Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage should I have?
The amount of coverage you choose depends on how comfortable you are with your insurance rate and how much you want to pay out of pocket.
With UM/UIM coverage, you can choose the maximum amount Root will pay if you file a claim (the coverage limit). Let’s say you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. The driver who hit you caused $10,000 of damage to your vehicle. If you have at least $10,000 in coverage, you wouldn’t have to pay anything for the accident (minus any applicable deductibles). However, if you had $10,000 in coverage, and the driver caused $12,000 in damage, you would have to pay the extra $2,000 out of pocket. In the Root app, you can see instantly how your insurance rate changes based on your coverage amounts.
Is UM/UIM required in my state?
The following states require UM coverage or UIM coverage. Some states require both.
Percentage of uninsured drivers by state
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is ranked #1 in highest percentage of uninsured drivers at 26.7%, followed by Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, and Tennessee. Only 6.15% of New Yorkers are uninsured, making the Empire State #50. Learn where your state ranks.
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November 7, 2018 It’s a great question. Everyone is different, so we’re making it easy to decide if you need a coverage or if you don’t. Read more
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May 2, 2018 Car Insurance in Everyday English, Part 3 Important question: What happens if you get injured in a car accident? Read more
Disclaimer: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage not available in all states.