What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in case another driver doesn't have auto insurance.

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Almost every state requires drivers to have a minimum level of car insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers comply with those laws. The Insurance Research Council found that 12.6% of drivers didn't have auto insurance when operating a vehicle in 2019, the latest year for which data is available (at the time of this writing).

If one of those drivers causes an accident that results in damages, you may not have a way to recover money from them to pay for your repairs. Thankfully, uninsured motorist insurance can help — but what does uninsured motorist cover exactly, and how much coverage should you get? Here are some key details to help you make that decision.

Coverage Provided by Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Uninsured drivers can cause accidents just like any other driver on the road. If they cause an accident you're involved in, you may have a chance to recover damages if you legally pursue the driver. However, people usually opt out of car insurance because they can't afford it. In these cases, the at-fault driver might not have any assets to pursue.

To protect yourself against this risk, you can purchase uninsured motorist insurance. You buy and pay for this insurance as part of a larger auto insurance policy. Then, your auto insurance pays for your damages up to the limits you selected if an uninsured driver causes an accident with you involved.

Your coverage depends on the type of uninsured motorist coverage you choose. Uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance covers medical bills from an accident. It may also cover lost wages. Meanwhile, uninsured motorist property damage insurance covers damage to your car and potentially other personal property damaged by an uninsured driver. Both types of coverage may include damage from hit-and-run drivers. These policies do not usually have deductibles, but you must pick coverage limits.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage can benefit you in a couple of key ways:

  • This coverage protects you in instances where an uninsured motorist causes damage to you or your property, especially if you don't have health insurance
  • It carries a relatively low cost compared to other types of auto insurance

Still, paying for uninsured motorist coverage may not feel like a fit for your situation. Some of the potential drawbacks include the following:

  • You're paying for insurance that covers someone else's irresponsibility
  • Each plan may not cover the same incidents, and some may not cover hit-and-runs depending on your insurance provider
  • State coverage requirements may force you to buy high amounts of uninsured motorist coverage to match your other auto insurance coverage limits, even if you don't need it

How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cost?

Auto insurance companies take several factors into account when setting your rates. This includes uninsured motorist coverage. Most notably, the coverage cost increases as you opt for higher limits. The likelihood of getting in an accident with an uninsured driver based on the statistics of where you live and drive also influences rates. Premiums usually fall around $100 per year when opting for $25,000/$50,000 limits.

How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should You Get?

Uninsured motorist coverage could offer valuable benefits if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver. To help you decide how much coverage to get, you should consider how much financial assistance you would need if this happens to you. People in a strong financial position may not need coverage to replace their car because they could easily pay for the repair or replacement themselves. Others may feel more comfortable assigning that risk to the car insurance company in exchange for the premiums charged.

In general, it's wise to purchase enough insurance to cover any potential losses you do not feel comfortable covering on your own. If you need assistance deciding how much coverage to buy, or have more questions about uninsured motorist coverage, you may want to consult an insurance agent. These professionals can help answer insurance questions like: what does an uninsured motorist cover? They can also partner with you to examine your situation and talk about the pros and cons of each coverage level.

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Lance Cothern
I started reading everything I could about personal finance while I attended college. It turns out that was one of the smartest decisions I could have made. Now, I want to share that knowledge with you. Using what I've learned through my education and experience, I aim to help you make informed decisions throughout the car buying and lending process while saving money at the same time.