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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Updated: July 2017

Uninsured motorist coverage is part of a car insurance policy that helps pay for your medical bills or car repairs if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have car insurance.

Typically, when you're in an accident and the other driver is at fault, his or her auto liability coverage would help pay for your medical bills or repairs to your car. But if the at-fault driver doesn't have car insurance, you may have to pay out of your own pocket for those expenses. That's where uninsured motorist coverage may help.


Video Transcript

What is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?

An uninsured motorist is someone without auto insurance. Chances are about one in seven drivers in the U.S. is uninsured, according to a 2011 estimate by the Insurance Research Council. Uninsured motorist coverage helps you pay for damages caused by a driver who doesn't have car insurance. If you're hurt or your car is damaged in a crash caused by such a driver, this coverage will help pay for costs, up to the limits in your policy.

But, what does it mean to be underinsured? Let's say you are injured in a car accident in which the other driver is at fault, but only has the state's minimum required bodily injury liability coverage, which isn't nearly enough to cover your medical bills. In some states, as long as your damages exceed the at-fault driver's policy limits, you can collect the difference up to your own policy limit. In that situation, the other driver would be considered underinsured.

However, in other states, if you and the at-fault driver have the same limits, the driver would not be considered underinsured and you may not be able to collect under your own insurance policy even if your damages are more than the other person's policy limits.

It's important to read your policy to understand how your underinsured motorist coverage is applied. This way, you can make sure you have the amount of coverage that is right for you.

The bodily injury portion of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may also cover injuries to your passengers or anyone driving your insured auto with your permission at the time of the accident.

In some states, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a single coverage, for which you pay a single premium. In others, they are separate coverages, for which you would pay separate premiums.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required in some states, while it's optional in others. Also, it's important to know that uninsured motorist property damage coverage is not available in some states.

Have questions? Contact your local Allstate agent today.

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What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage is a protection that helps pay for your expenses if you're hit by an underinsured driver. In some states, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are bundled together and offered as a single protection on your car insurance policy.

So, what does it mean to be "underinsured"? It depends on where you live. Each state defines "underinsured" a bit differently. An underinsured driver has auto liability insurance but either:

  • Their liability limits aren't enough to cover your bills after an accident, or
  • Their liability limits are less than or equal to your underinsured motorist coverage limit

What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Typically Cover?

Uninsured motorist coverage may offer two types of protection:

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage helps pay for your medical expenses resulting from a crash caused by an uninsured driver. In some states this protection may extend to a family member who is driving your car, or your passengers.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage helps pay for repairs to your vehicle after a crash caused by an uninsured driver. This protection is not available in all states.

Underinsured motorist coverage offers one type of protection:

  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage helps pay for your medical bills if you are hit by an underinsured driver.

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required?

Depending on where you live, uninsured motorist coverage may be required by law: 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it mandatory.

Drivers in most states are legally required to carry auto liability insurance coverage. However, one in eight drivers on U.S. roads is uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). So, it may be a good idea to consider uninsured motorist coverage, even if it's optional where you live.

Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage Required?

Underinsured motorist coverage is an optional protection in most states.

States That Require Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

State Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Required? Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage Required? Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Required?

Connecticut

 

District of Columbia

 

Illinois

 

Kansas

 

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

 

Minnesota

 

Missouri

 

 

Nebraska

 

New Jersey

New York

 

North Carolina

North Dakota

 

Oregon

 

Rhode Island*

 

 

South Carolina

 

South Dakota

 

Vermont

Virginia

West Virginia

Wisconsin

 

 

It's important to understand how uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage work where you live. Then, you can choose coverage limits that may help you in case of an accident.

Need help understanding your state's requirements? Talk to a local agent about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2019 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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