Approximately 13% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That figure varies by state, with Mainers the most likely to have insurance — more than 95% — and Floridians the least likely to have it — less than 73%. This article covers how adding underinsured/uninsured motorist, or UM/UIM, coverage to your auto insurance can protect your family from devastating financial loss if you get hit by an uninsured driver.
Is Car Insurance Required in Every State?
Every state except New Hampshire requires drivers to have auto liability insurance in order to drive. Liability insurance pays for third parties’ vehicle repairs and replacement, medical expenses and other costs if the policyholder causes an accident. Your state laws define the minimum amount of required coverage. However, uninsured drivers ignore the law, don’t buy coverage and continue to drive, regardless of the risk they pose to others.
Even if the at-fault driver is insured, there's no guarantee that their insurance will pay the total amount needed to cover your medical bills and vehicle repair costs. However, UIM insurance can pay the difference, up to your coverage limit, to protect your family from financial loss.
What Is Uninsured vs Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Without this protection, you could end up on the hook for thousands of dollars. If another driver without liability insurance hits you, your uninsured motorist insurance pays your medical and vehicle repair costs. Underinsured motorist coverage works the same way, except that it only covers the gap between the at-fault driver's coverage limit and your accident-related expenses — up to your coverage limit.
Do You Have to Buy Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
This varies by state, with 22 states requiring UM/UIM coverage. Florida, for example, doesn't require this coverage, but in Oregon, drivers must buy bodily injury, property damage and UM/UIM. Whatever your state requires, it's good to have this coverage and it typically doesn't add a lot to your insurance bill.
You can't control who hits you or what insurance they have. That's why it's great to be able to take matters into your own hands. Adding UM/UIM coverage helps you cover the financial fallout that goes along with an auto accident. Think carefully before you opt out of this coverage. Talk it over with your family to make the best decision for your future.