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Uninsured Motorist Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

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What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Simply put, uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is a type of car insurance that gives you a level of protection against drivers who don’t have liability insurance. In the U.S., almost one in eight drivers do not have car insurance. As a driver, you should find that number alarming because if you are involved in an accident caused by a driver with no insurance, you may find yourself with injuries and damages and no way to pay for them.

In most states, whoever caused an accident is responsible – or their insurance is – for the injuries and damages of the other people involved. If they don’t have car insurance, you can sue them but that isn’t going to help in the short term. If a driver who caused an accident leaves the scene before you can get their information, uninsured motorist coverage will help you pay for your injuries and damages up to your policy limits.

At Freeway Insurance, we have uninsured motorist insurance options that can help you plug that gap in liability insurance if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.

What is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) protects you against drivers who have liability insurance and it does not include enough coverage to pay for the injuries and property damages they cause when they are at fault in an accident. You may not know it, but you could actually be one of the underinsured. If you have only the state-required minimum car insurance and you are found to be at fault in a crash, your insurance levels may not cover all the injuries and damages sustained by other drivers and their passengers. In that case, the remainder comes out of your pocket. And in at-fault states, your insurance isn’t going to help you recover financially at all. All of your expenses will come out of your pocket.

Your underinsured motorist coverage will kick in after the at-fault driver’s insurance has been exhausted. In no-fault states, your insurance will pay for your injuries and damages no matter who caused the wreck.

Many drivers choose to add more protections to their liability insurance in order to make sure their expenses after an accident are covered. Our Freeway Insurance agents can help you decide the amount of coverage that best fits you and your budget.

What is the Difference Between Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you when you are in an accident with an at-fault driver who has no auto liability insurance at all and includes drivers who flee the scene of an accident without leaving their information (hit and run).

Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in once the liability insurance of the at-fault driver is exhausted. In many cases, state minimum liability insurance requirements simply aren’t enough when up against today’s costs for medical care and automobile repair.

All drivers should seriously consider this protection whether it is required or not. It doesn’t cost much for the peace of mind it provides.

How Does Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Insurance Work?

Drivers purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist insurance and if they are involved in a wreck caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, their own insurance company will provide financial aid up to their policy limits. So, for example, if you choose to add $25,000 worth of UIM coverage, and your deductible is $500, the insurance company will kick in $24,500 to help pay for your damages and medical bills – and those of your passengers.

Some states have realized that requiring some level of underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects their drivers in the event of a crash – or a hit and run. Drivers in those state pay for UIM insurance whether they want to or not. Other states require insurance companies to offer UM insurance as part of the minimum coverage package, but drivers can opt out.

What Are the Two Types of Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

As with regular bodily injury insurance and property damage liability insurance, UIM – in some cases – also breaks down in two parts: bodily injury/death and property damage. Just like with your normal liability coverage, you’ll see your UIM as, for example, 25/50/25. This means that after you meet your deductible, your insurance company will cover your bodily injury/death claim up to $25,000 per person with a total of $50,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage claim. Most states only require UIM for bodily injury/death coverage.

Here is a table that shows which states require underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance. States that don’t require UIM often do require drivers to waive this coverage in writing.

State State Required UM Coverage
Connecticut 25/50 UM
Illinois 25/50 UM
Kansas 25/50 UM
Maine 50/100 UM
Maryland 30/60/15 UM
Massachusetts 20/40 UM
Minnesota 25/50 UM, 25/50 UIM
Missouri 25/50 UM
Nebraska 25/50 UM
New Hampshire* 25/50 UM
New York 25/50 UM
North Dakota 25/50 UM
Oregon 25/50 UM
Rhode Island* 25/50/25 UM
South Carolina 25/50/25 UM
South Dakota 25/50 UM
Vermont 50/100/10 UM
West Virginia 25/50/25 UM
Wisconsin 25/50 UM

*New Hampshire: Drivers are not required to purchase car insurance, but if they do, they must purchase a minimum package that includes UM

*Rhode Island: Drivers may decline to purchase UM if they choose to buy only the minimum requirements 25/50/25 liability coverage

Do I Really Need Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

It’s a good idea to buy UM insurance, since it isn’t going to add much to your car insurance bottom line. Given that 12.6 percent of motorists were driving without insurance in 2019, it’s a safe bet. The state you live in can also have bearing on whether or not you feel you should purchase UM insurance. Here’s a look at the 10 highest states for uninsured drivers in 2019:

State Percent of Uninsured Drivers
Mississippi 29.4%
Missouri 25.5%
Tennessee 23.7%
New Mexico 21.8%
Washington 21.7%
Florida 20.4%
Alabama 19.5%
Arkansas 19.3%
District of Columbia 19.1%
California 16.6%

How Much Does Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Cost?

Relatively speaking, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is cheap. Most sources put it at anywhere from 3-5% of your total insurance bill. So, for example, if your insurance bill is $1,300 annually, the UIM portion is less than $6 per month.

It’s always a good idea to do some car insurance comparison shopping. Freeway Insurance will do the work for you and gather quotes from different companies based on your needs and budget.

Get Affordable Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage Online Today

Having protection from uninsured motorists while driving is worth the extra, low-cost uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Freeway Insurance can help you navigate the car insurance maze with an online insurance quote or by calling us at (800) 777-5620. You can also visit us at an office near you.

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