Share This Page
Share Pin It Email Print

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that 1 driver out of every 7 drivers in the United States is currently uninsured. This is especially startling considering that an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can result in significant costs that aren't covered by a basic liability insurance policy.

To protect law-abiding drivers, many states are now requiring uninsured motorist coverage in their car insurance policies to help with costs associated with injuries after being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.

Additionally, drivers may have the option to purchase uninsured motorist property damage that covers damages to your vehicle and/or other property caused by an uninsured driver in an accident.

What is Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage?

In the event of an auto accident, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage – also called uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance – will cover you and your passengers for:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Lost wages.

Under this car insurance policy, you and your passengers will also be covered if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

NOTE: In some cases, a driver might have some liability insurance but not enough to cover your injuries and/or damages. Underinsured motorist coverage can be used to offset the costs. Visit our Underinsured Motorist Coverage page to learn more.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limits

If you decide to purchase UM coverage, you'll need to select the limits that are right for you. In many states, the minimum car insurance coverage amounts are set for you; however, you can always choose higher limits (and it may be wise to do so).

Bodily Injury

When you consider your desired coverage amounts for uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, make sure you understand how these limits work.

Split Limits

In most cases, your UM coverage will come in a split limit, meaning your insurance coverage will differ if there is one person injured versus if there are multiple people injured. For example, a split limit might be:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death, per person.
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death, per accident.

Combined Single Limits

You may instead be able to purchase a combined single limit policy, which is one amount that your insurance company will pay out for all bodily injury in an accident (e.g., $30,000 for all injuries).

UM Property Damage Coverage

Many states have laws requiring uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance in order to protect drivers in the state from financial disaster after an accident.

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD), however, is typically not required and sometimes is not offered at all in the state.

If UMPD coverage is offered in your state, consider purchasing it. One accident with an uninsured driver can leave you with significant bills to cover your property damage, especially if the accident was serious.

When It Applies

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage applies when the other driver is determined to be at least partially at fault for the car crash and:

If your insurance company pays a claim under this policy, they will subrogate against the negligent driver in order to recover their damages. However, because many people who do not have insurance coverage have no collectible assets, recovery may not be possible. This is where your uninsured motorist property damage coverage would step in.

What UMPD Covers

In addition to paying for damages to your vehicle, uninsured motorist property damage coverage may also cover damage to other personal property. Examples of personal property that may be covered when damaged include:

  • Your house.
  • Your fence.
  • Personal items, such as your laptop or cell phone.

NOTE: Making a claim under this policy causes you to become a third party to your own insurance company. You will be reimbursed for your accident claim as if you were a third party, which can put you in opposition to your insurance provider.

Additional Car Insurance Requirements

If you need information on your state's car insurance requirements, or you need help with understanding optional insurance coverage policies (for example, collision and comprehensive), you can visit our Coverages section for more information.

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review