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Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What Does It Typically Cover?

Updated: November 16, 2018

There are certain nuances in auto insurance policies that people must understand if they are to get the best possible coverage.

For example, there are no contingencies for accidents with uninsured motorists within the liability, comprehensive or collision insurance coverages.

This means that if you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist, and it was their fault, your liability, comprehensive or collision coverage will not pay for medical expenses or car damage.

The only way to get compensation would be to legally go after the uninsured motorist and make them pay out of pocket.

But there is also the option of getting the underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage add-on.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage is a facet of auto insurance that is only used when the at-fault driver in an accident does not have any liability coverage in their policy. It also comes into play if their policy’s liability coverage is not enough to pay for the damages incurred to your vehicle.

This is the part of an auto policy that can save you a lot of money in paying for damages and medical expenses related to accidents that were not your fault.

This is the part of an auto policy that can save you a lot of money in paying for damages and medical expenses related to accidents that were not your fault.

For example, you may get into a crash with someone who has liability coverage for up to $5,000 worth of property damage. Their policy may only provide another $10,000 for medical expenses and/or lost wages.

If the accident ends up costing you $7,000 in property damage and $15,000 in medical expenses and/or lost wages, this money must come out of your pocket or the other individual’s pocket. If they cannot pay, you may have to take them to court or take the hit and absorb the cost yourself.

But with underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, these added costs are covered by your insurance company.

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Individuals who have new cars with a high value, or luxury vehicles, should definitely look into uninsured motorist coverage. If your car has a high value, replacing or repairing it will cost more money too.

Another time when you should get uninsured motorist coverage is if you are moving to a heavily populated area.

When you get into an accident with someone who does not have insurance, you will have a hard time getting them to pay ten or twenty thousand dollars out of pocket. People with newer cars most definitely need uninsured motorist coverage to protect their investment.

Another time when you should get uninsured motorist coverage is if you are moving to a heavily populated area. Cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston are busier than other parts of the country, which means more cars on the road and more accidents.

Statistics also show that people are more likely to encounter an uninsured or underinsured motorist if they drive in or around urban areas.

For example, you may get into an accident with a motorist who has an auto policy from another state. If that state has much lower liability insurance requirements than your state, you could be forced to seek compensation from the other party out of pocket.

What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Offer?

There are two facets to underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage add-ons. The first part of the policy refers to bodily injuries, while the other part refers to property damage.

Underinsured motorist property damage coverage refers to damage that is caused to your vehicle or other property by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

The uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage add-on will give you protection for medical expenses and/or lost wages that are related to injuries you incur during an accident with a person who does not have auto insurance coverage. Keep in mind, this policy comes into effect if the crash is deemed that other person’s fault. If you cause the crash, uninsured motorist coverage is irrelevant.

Underinsured motorist property damage coverage refers to damage that is caused to your vehicle or other property by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

This is the part of the policy that people with newer cars must get with their auto insurance policy.

If you are in a situation where you have an older vehicle with a lower value, but you live in a busy area where accidents are more likely, you may want to get the uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, but not the property damage coverage.

When to NOT Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage

There are some situations where you may not want to get uninsured motorist coverage. If you have an older vehicle with a low value, the cost to repair this car is probably not that high.

People who live in rural areas may not need to get uninsured motorist coverage.

Even if you crash with an uninsured motorist, they can probably afford the repairs out of pocket. And you can always pay the different yourself. The money you save on uninsured motorist coverage can go towards paying for an eventual upgrade to your vehicle.

People who live in rural areas may not need to get uninsured motorist coverage. Statistics show that rural areas are less likely to feature people who drive on the road without auto insurance coverage.

You are also less likely to get into an accident with another car in rural areas, because there is much less traffic compared to urban centers.

Uninsured motorist coverage is one add-on to remove if you really need to save money on your policy. If you simply cannot afford this coverage, do not jeopardize your ability to balance your finances for one insurance coverage add-on.

Other Auto Insurance Coverage Options

Along with underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, there are other add-ons that insured individuals may want to consider adding to their policy. While each add-on increases how much you pay per month for auto insurance, they also provide better and more thorough coverage.

Auto insurance providers also offer their customers the option of adding personal injury protection add-ons to the policy.

For example, insurance companies offer roadside assistance add-ons. This is a great way to get the cost of emergency services included in your auto insurance bill.

It is often cheaper to get this add-on from your insurance provider, instead of getting a separate emergency services policy from AAA or other such companies.

Auto insurance providers also offer their customers the option of adding personal injury protection add-ons to the policy. This provides coverage for medical expenses incurred during accidents that were your fault. It does not apply to accidents that the other party caused, because their liability coverage will take care of those instances.

Other add-ons include protection against a vehicle’s value depreciating. This is called gap insurance, and it protects you in situations where you owe more money on the car than the insurance provider will pay if the vehicle is totaled.