Allstate car insurance uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you financially if you're in an accident with someone who's found at fault and either has no insurance or insufficient insurance.
Even though most people lump uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage together, they actually do two separate things.
Let's say you're in an accident. A texting driver swerves out of his lane and into your car. The good news: everybody's OK, and the other driver's definitely at fault. But the bad news is that your car's not so lucky.
Seems pretty cut and dried: the other driver is on the hook for damage to your car, right? No problem...unless the other guy doesn't have insurance. Or doesn't have enough insurance.
- If the other driver doesn't have auto insurance (most likely a crime itself!), your uninsured car accident coverage typically pays for the damages to your car—and also for injuries resulting from a covered loss. (Although in many states, this is covered under an insured's collision coverage).
- If the other driver does have insurance, it's possible his coverage limits aren't high enough to cover the damage to your car. Or enough to cover injuries from the accident. That's where underinsured insurance kicks in, picking up the difference.
You probably also noticed that uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage has bodily injury and property damage components. Bodily injury coverage typically pays covered medical expenses for you, your passengers, or family members who might be driving your car. Property damage coverage typically pays for damages to your car. (In many states, this is also included in your collision protection, so you may want to check your policy to confirm it.)
The short answer is that there's no one perfect answer! Some drivers follow an easy rule of thumb and carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage equal to their bodily injury liability limit. But since coverage can range from $20,000 to $1 million or more, the "right amount" depends on your accumulated assets and risk tolerance. For an idea of coverage amounts that make sense for your situation, our Bumper-to-Bumper Basics tool can be a big (and quick) help.
It's important to remember that your insurance company generally prohibits purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in amounts higher than your liability coverage.
And keep in mind that sometimes a driver can become underinsured just by driving across state lines. Your state, for example, may have a minimum liability amount that's much higher than a neighboring state. [Generally, though, if a driver goes from one state into another where the Financial Responsibility (FR) limits are higher, most policies have an "Out of State Insurance" provision which increases the limits on their policy up to the FR limits of the state. You may want to check your coverages before taking any out-of-state trips.]
If you're already an Allstate customer with questions about your coverage levels, please contact your agent or call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828).
Liability coverage protects you from damage you do to others or to property in an accident.
Collision coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement to your car if you're in a covered accident that involves other vehicles or stationary objects.
Comprehensive coverage helps pay for covered losses caused by natural disasters, theft, vandalism, or other similar events.
Medical payments coverage helps pay medical bills if you or your passengers are hurt in a covered accident. This option may also cover other members of your family when driving the insured car.
Personal injury protection (not available in some states) typically helps reimburse you for lost income, child care expenses, medical expenses, and other similar things if you're hurt in a covered accident.