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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.

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.

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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?



District of Columbia

















New Jersey

New York


North Carolina

North Dakota




Rhode Island*



South Carolina


South Dakota




West Virginia




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. © 2018 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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