The Necessity of Underinsured Motorist Coverage
According to the Insurance Research Council, about 13 percent of drivers in the United States operate their vehicles without insurance. This amounts to about one in every eight cars on the road.
Does this mean that you should carry uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy? Here, the professionals at IHS Insurance Group cover the essentials you need to know so you can make a more informed decision.
Let’s begin our discussion by laying a solid foundation about uninsured motorist coverage.
Quick Facts About Uninsured Motorist Coverage
As the name implies, the uninsured motorist coverage provided by your auto policy works to help pay for damages to your person or property caused by an uninsured driver. The coverage can also help pay for losses caused by someone who carries auto insurance, but whose policy limits are lower than necessary to fully compensate you (i.e., underinsured).
Depending on the carrier and state where the policy is issued, uninsured motorist coverage can also help protect you and your passengers against a hit-and-run driver.
As a coverage, uninsured motorist is often broken down into two distinct parts (again, depending on the state):
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) – Can provide coverage for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) – Could cover damage to your vehicle or other property belonging to you or your passengers.
Some states require that you pay a deductible when making an uninsured motorist claim, while others do not. In different states, health insurance could cover some of your medical costs related to an uninsured motorist claim, who might then seek to recuperate their costs from the at-fault driver, if possible.
Are You Required to Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
As you might have already guessed based on everything covered in the previous section, details surrounding uninsured motorist coverage (e.g., if it’s offered, if it’s required, if it can be waived, precisely what it covers, etc.) are highly state-specific.
Currently, uninsured motorist coverage is required in 18 states and the District of Columbia. In some of these states, you might have the option to reject UM coverage. And even where UM is offered, it might not also cover claims related to underinsured motorists.
Here’s a quick table outlining UM details in states where the IHS Insurance Group team commonly writes auto insurance:
|State||Uninsured Motorist Required?|
|TX||Optional (if available)|
|OK||Optional (if available)|
|LA||Optional (if available)|
|AR||Optional (if available)|
|KS||UMBI Required, Also Covers Underinsured|
|NM||Optional (if available)|
How Can You Decide if You Really Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you live in a state where uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required, how can you decide whether you should pay extra to add it to your auto policy?
If you live in a state where uninsured motorist coverage is offered, the IHS team typically recommends purchasing it, since it provides a great deal of value for the money (more about this next). You’ll pay very little, but the coverage could prove invaluable if you’re involved in a severe accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver.
However, we also realize that every dollar counts. So, if you already carry health insurance that you’re comfortable using, it might not make sense to spend a few extra dollars per month for coverage you could be duplicating.
Related: How Much Automobile Insurance Do I Need?
Realistically, though, what might you expect to pay for uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy?
How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cost?
While the exact costs will depend on as many factors as other coverages (e.g., drivers, vehicles, accident and citation history, limits, etc.), it generally doesn’t cost much to add uninsured motorist to your auto policy. Especially compared to the level of protection it potentially provides if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
With these details in mind, you might expect to pay about half as much for UM coverage as you do for liability. For example, if your BI and PD limits are set at 250/500/100, and you pay $50 per year for the coverage, you might expect to pay $25 per year for the same UMBI/UMPD limits.
How Can You Learn More About Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Depending on your needs, preferences, and overall budget, uninsured motorist could represent a much-needed coverage under your auto policy. How much coverage do you need, though? Where can you turn if you have additional questions, whether about UM or any other insurance-related topic?
The friendly, professional staff at IHS Insurance Group is standing by to walk you through the process and help you find solutions to your questions!
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage? We have three convenient ways to reach us:
- If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480 5063.
- If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back with you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE.
- Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.
We look forward to speaking with you today!