Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Ultimate Guide

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What is It and Do You Need It?

If it hasn’t happened to you, you probably know someone who has experienced it. Somebody else is at fault in an accident but doesn’t carry liability insurance. Now what? You’ll be stuck having to pay out of pocket for damage and injuries.

If you had uninsured motorist coverage you’d be protected.

What is Covered?

Uninsured motorist insurance will pay medical bills for injuries to you or your passengers. Some insurance policies will also reimburse you for other items such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

Uninsured vs. Underinsured

Uninsured motorist insurance protects you from at-fault drivers without coverage.

Underinsured coverage comes to your rescue if the at-fault driver’s coverage is too low to cover all expenses.

Types of Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage can be called UM or UMBI.

UM – Uninsured motorist coverage.
UMBI – Uninsured motorist bodily injury. In many states, UMBI also pays:

  • If the at-fault driver’s insurance is too low to cover injuries caused to you or passengers.
  • If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, your insurance provider might let you you to make a claim against your UMBI.

UMPD – Uninsured motorist property damage coverage, or UMPD, is an option. It pays for damages to your car or other property. Depending on your state’s requirements:

  • You might need to pay a deductible.
  • Does NOT cover damage caused by a hit-and-run accident.
  • Some states require UMBI coverage only, with UMPD optional.
  • In other states, both UMBI and UMPD can be either mandatory or optional.

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Uninsured Motorist Statistics

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), about 13 percent of drivers in the United States were without insurance coverage in 2015. IRC compiled statistics by state, comparing the number of claims filed by drivers injured by uninsured motorists to number of claims by people injured by insured drivers.

With high numbers of motorists driving while uninsured, many states mandate that drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Some states require drivers to also have underinsured motorist coverage.

Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists, 1992-2015

199215.6200013.4     200814.3
199316.0200114.2     200913.8
199415.1200214.5     201012.3
199514.2200314.9     201112.3
199613.8200414.6     201212.6
199713.2200514.6     201312.7
199813.0200614.3     201413.0
199912.8200713.8     201513.0

(1) Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claim frequencies.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Top 10 Highest and Lowest States by Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists, 2015

RankStatePercent uninsuredRankStatePercent uninsured
2Mississippi23.72New York6.1
3New Mexico20.83Massachusetts6.2
4Michigan20.34North Carolina6.5
7Washington17.47North Dakota6.8
10D.C.15.610South Dakota7.7

(1) Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claim frequencies.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Automobile Financial Responsibility Laws by State

(As of September 2019)

StateInsurance required Minimum liability limits (1)
ALBI & PD Liab25/50/25
AKBI & PD Liab50/100/25
AZBI & PD Liab25/50/15 (2)
ARBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
CABI & PD Liab15/30/5 (3)
COBI & PD Liab25/50/15
CTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
DEBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
DCBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
FLPD Liab, PIP10/20/10 (4)
GABI & PD Liab25/50/25
HIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IDBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ILBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
INBI & PD Liab25/50/25
IABI & PD Liab20/40/15
KSBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25 (4)
LABI & PD Liab15/30/25
MEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25 (5)
MDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MABI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MNBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MSBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MOBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MTBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
NVBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NHFR only25/50/25
NJBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5 (6)
NMBI & PD Liab25/50/10
NYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10 (7)
NCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
NDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OHBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OKBI & PD Liab25/50/25
ORBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PABI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
RIBI & PD Liab25/50/25
SCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
SDBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TNBI & PD Liab25/50/15 (4)
TXBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UTBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15 (4)
VTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
VABI & PD Liab (9), UM, UIM25/50/20
WABI & PD Liab25/50/10
WVBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WIBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
WYBI & PD Liab25/50/20

(1) The first two numbers refer to bodily injury (BI) liability limits and the third number to property damage (PD) liability. For example, 20/40/10 means coverage up to $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident, subject to a limit of $20,000 for one individual, and $10,000 coverage for property damage.
(2) Effective July 1, 2020.
(3) Low-cost policy limits for low-income drivers in the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan are 10/20/3.
(4) Instead of policy limits, policyholders can satisfy the requirement with a combined single limit policy. Amounts vary by state.
(5) In addition, policyholders must carry coverage for medical payments.
(6) Basic policy (optional) limits are 10/10/5. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage not available under the basic policy but uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required under the standard policy. Special Automobile Insurance Policy available for certain drivers which only covers emergency treatment and a $10,000 death benefit.
(7) In addition, policyholders must have 50/100 for wrongful death coverage.
(8) Compulsory to buy insurance or pay an uninsured motorists vehicle (UMV) fee to the state department of motor vehicles.

Note: State laws regarding mandatory requirements for uninsured and underinsured motorists vary. State departments of insurance should be consulted to determine whether these coverages are compulsory.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Bottom line is, adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your insurance is a smart idea, even if it’s not required in your state. If you want to start a fresh search for the best auto insurance for yourself you can get quotes to compare right now.

You can also learn the ins and outs of your state’s specific requirements using our State Insurance Guidelines interactive map.


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