Skip to main content

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Do You Need It?

By February 24, 2020Personal Insurance

Laws in nearly every state require motorists to carry car insurance, but many people take their chances and drive without coverage. How many? According to an Insurance Research Council study, an estimated one in eight motorists in 2012 was driving without insurance. That’s a national average, and in some states as many as one in four are uninsured.

If you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you could be left holding the bag. Even if the other driver carries insurance, he or she may be underinsured, with coverage limits not high enough to pay for all the costs of a serious accident. Look at the minimum level of liability coverage required in your state, it may be a lot less than you think.

You can protect yourself from these drivers by buying insurance especially for this purpose, called uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).

Laws in nearly every state require motorists to carry car insurance, but many people take their chances and drive without coverage. How many? According to an Insurance Research Council study, an estimated one in eight motorists in 2012 was driving without insurance. That’s a national average, and in some states as many as one in four are uninsured.

If you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you could be left holding the bag. Even if the other driver carries insurance, he or she may be underinsured, with coverage limits not high enough to pay for all the costs of a serious accident. Look at the minimum level of liability coverage required in your state, it may be a lot less than you think.

You can protect yourself from these drivers by buying insurance especially for this purpose, called uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).

How Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Works

In case of an accident caused by a driver without insurance, a UM motorist policy replaces the liability coverage that driver should have had and gives you coverage for all of your costs, up to your policy’s limits. If an underinsured driver is responsible, a UIM policy fills the gap between what the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay and the total cost of the accident, up to the policy’s limits.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be purchased to cover bodily injuries (sometimes called UMBI), and in some states it’s also available to cover property damage (sometimes called UMPD).

Here’s one way to look at it: UM/UIM works just like your liability bodily injury and property damage coverage and is sold the same way, with coverage limits you select. But instead of buying insurance to protect other drivers from damage you cause, you’re buying insurance to protect yourself from damage caused by other drivers.

Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury insurance covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income and funeral costs for you and all passengers in your car. You also get the same bodily injury coverage after a hit-and-run accident.

Property damage coverage will pay for auto repairs, and it can also pay for damage to other property like a fence that has been run over by an uninsured driver. Some uninsured/underinsured property damage policies will come with a deductible that you would be responsible for before your coverage begins.

State Requirements

Almost half of the states require at least some form of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Others require that the coverage be offered and that you actively decline UM/UIM coverage in writing if you do not want this type of insurance. If you live in a state where UM/UIM is not required, you may still have the option to purchase this insurance; however, not all types of coverage are available in every state.
The table below shows the minimum coverage required in each state.

States Where Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Required
State Uninsured Coverage Required? Underinsured Coverage Required?
Alabama No No
Alaska No No
Arizona No No
Arkansas No No
California No No
Colorado No No
Connecticut Yes, Bodily Injury at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
Delaware No No
District of Columbia Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and Property Damage at $5,000, subject to $200 deductible No
Florida No No
Georgia No No
Hawaii No No
Idaho No No
Illinois Yes, Bodily Injury at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident No
Indiana No No
Iowa No No
Kansas Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Kentucky No No
Louisiana No No
Maine Yes, Bodily Injury at $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident
Maryland Yes, Bodily Injury at $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident and Property Damage at $15,000 Yes, Bodily Injury at $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident and Property Damage at $15,000
Massachusetts Yes, Bodily Injury at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident No
Michigan No No
Minnesota Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Mississippi No No
Missouri Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident No
Montana No No
Nebraska Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Nevada No No
New Hampshire Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
New Jersey Yes, Bodily Injury at $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident and Property Damage at $5,000 Yes, Bodily Injury at $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident and Property Damage at $5,000
New Mexico No No
New York Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
North Carolina Yes, Bodily Injury at $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident and Property Damage at $25,000 Yes, Bodily Injury at $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident
North Dakota Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Ohio No No
Oklahoma No No
Oregon Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Pennsylvania No No
Rhode Island No No
South Carolina Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and Property Damage at $25,000 with $200 deductible No
South Dakota Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
Tennessee No No
Texas No No
Utah No No
Vermont Yes, Bodily Injury at $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and Property Damage at $10,000 with $150 deductible Yes, Bodily Injury at $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and Property Damage at $10,000 with $150 deductible
Virginia Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and Property Damage at $20,000 with $200 deductible Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and Property Damage at $20,000 with $200 deductible
Washington No No
West Virginia Yes, Bodily Injury at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident and Property Damage at $10,000 for property damage No
Wisconsin Yes, Bodily Injury at $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident No
Wyoming No No