Uninsured and underinsured drivers — and what they mean to your financial risk
Auto liability insurance is legally mandatory in most U.S. states, yet uninsured drivers remain. While drivers caught without auto insurance can face severe penalties, many risk it because they want to save money. Those without insurance pose a serious threat to insured drivers, both physically and financially. In the event of a car accident, they may not have enough — or any — insurance to pay for your medical bills or to have your car repaired.
You should understand your protection options in case you are ever in a car crash involving an at-fault driver with no auto insurance. How can you protect yourself? The Insurance Information Institute has identified three general protective options.
1. Uninsured motorist (UM) or uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance is mandatory in many states. It pays the medical bills for both you and your passengers if you’re involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have liability insurance, or not enough to pay damages. UM insurance will also reimburse you and your passenger for lost wages. Coverage also kicks in if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or are the victim of a hit-and-run accident as a pedestrian.
2. Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) insurance pays for damages to your vehicle caused by an uninsured driver. Generally (depending on the state), UMPD also covers damage to other personal property, such as a fence.
3. Underinsured motorist (UIM) protection is there to cover the shortfall when an at-fault driver has liability insurance, but their policy limits do not cover the total costs. UIM insurance will cover the gap so you’re not hit with the excess repairs or medical costs.
Small price to pay for peace of mind
The cost of this insurance is likely to be considerably less than the cost of paying out of pocket for repairs or injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and protection from irresponsible drivers on the road.
Options vary by state and insurance company, so discuss your auto insurance policy with your insurance professional.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
Copyright © 2020 Applied Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.