Since nearly every state in the United States requires some minimum level of liability insurance to operate a motor vehicle, one may be left wondering why they would need to purchase uninsured motorists coverage.
Unfortunately, we all know that just because the law says we’re supposed to do something, doesn’t mean that everyone will. According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), it’s estimated that 14 percent of drivers nationally are uninsured, and in some states up to 26 percent of all drivers lack automobile insurance.
So, what is uninsured motorists coverage? Uninsured motorists, or UM coverage provides insurance protection for bodily injury, and in some states property damage, caused by a motorist who is not insured. This coverage allows you to collect from your own insurance company as if it provided liability coverage for the negligent and uninsured driver. It provides benefits for you and your family members’ injuries sustained in your own covered auto, in autos you do not own, or as a pedestrian.
Thinking about chancing it? Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to not get hit by an uninsured motorist? As I mentioned before, uninsured motorists coverage not only provides protection for you while you’re operating a vehicle, but also when you’re a pedestrian. To help drive home (excuse the pun) the importance of this coverage, think about this real example: a bicyclist was riding through an intersection when a van ran the red light. This young man’s head bounced off the van window, leaving him with multiple facial lacerations and busting out almost all of his teeth. The van drove away, and no one was able to track down the driver. The young man had to have multiple surgeries to his mouth and face. Fortunately for him, he carried $250,000 worth of uninsured motorists coverage which paid for the majority of his injuries.
Equally important is underinsured motorists coverage, which provides insurance protection for bodily injury, and in some states property damage, sustained by you when a motorist who has liability insurance. but not a sufficient amount, negligently causes an accident. Consider this: if you were permanently injured by a driver in your state where the minimum financial responsibility law requires limits of $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident / $10,000 property damage (shown as 15/30/10 on your policy declarations page), would that be enough to cover lifelong medical care? Of course not. That’s why it’s so important to purchase an adequate amounts of underinsured motorists coverage.
Review your insurance policy, then consult with your insurance agent about adequate amounts of uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage to assure you’re covered even when the other person is not.
The coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to the actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage language, conditions or exclusions, please refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.