What Does Uninsured Motorist Cover?

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Legally reviewed by Eric Feldman on March 7, 2022 Eric Feldman is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

Any sort of car accident can be frustrating, but matters get much more complicated when you get in a crash with an uninsured/underinsured motorist — especially when their negligence or recklessness caused the accident. Fortunately, uninsured motorist coverage is a common policy for auto insurance that can be used when the at-fault driver’s insurance is inadequate or if you are involved in a hit and run accident.

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Hopefully, after an accident with an underinsured motorist, coverage will apply to your situation so you can recover costs such as your medical expenses, lost wages, health insurance payments, car repairs, property damage, and more. This policy will even cover funeral expenses in the unfortunate event of wrongful death.

Working with a personal injury attorney is one of the smartest ways to deal with car insurance companies, even if you file an uninsured motorist claim against your policy. Even the most well known car insurance companies are focused on settling claims for as little as possible, regardless of how much coverage you need or expect. 

1-800-Injured can help you connect with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you work with hit and run claims or other uninsured coverage claims. That way, you can stay focused on getting the care that you need without any added stress.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are policy additions that provide liability insurance for a driver in the event that they are in an accident with an uninsured driver. They enable to seek compensation for the many different damages caused by the car accident. 

Is Your State a Mandatory Uninsured Motorist Coverage State?

Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not be legally required to carry uninsured motorist coverage in addition to your standard car insurance. The reality is that uninsured motorist coverage is an important protection against financial liability for someone else’s dangerous and reckless decision to operate a vehicle without appropriate liability protection.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/830170/collision-claim-size-for-physical-damage-usa/#statisticContainer

Suppose a driver does not have any car insurance, or they do not have adequate liability coverage to cover the many damages you are seeking after the accident. In that case, you will need to go to your car insurance company to seek the difference. This is why it is so important to purchase uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, even in states where it is not legally required.

Bodily Injury Coverage

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is an essential part of your collision insurance because medical bills can quickly put someone into serious financial trouble, especially when they cannot seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Something as treatable as a broken bone or as seemingly minor as an ambulance ride can lead to overwhelming problems without enough insurance coverage. Those problems are easily mitigated with this addition to your auto liability insurance.

Due to astronomical medical costs in the United States, uninsured motorist coverage is one of the greatest ways to protect yourself from potential expenses and damages that may lead to bankruptcy, wage garnishment, and more. This low-cost addition to your base car insurance policy can save you from major issues caused by an uninsured motorist down the road.

Health Insurance Coverage

Suppose you suffer injuries in an accident with an uninsured motorist. In that case, coverage will need to extend to any possible recurring or future medical bills, especially if you or your loved one has suffered from a permanent or catastrophic injury that leads to costs beyond what falls under bodily injury coverage. 

Issues like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and even emotional or psychological impacts can have residual effects on a victim for years, or even decades, after the crash. Knowing that you have the appropriate collision coverage in the event of an accident with an underinsured motorist or uninsured motorist can give you peace of mind.

Health Insurance Costs Can Ruin Your Financial Future

Don’t get stuck with medical bills that your auto insurance policy could have covered. You should make sure to get the appropriate liability coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones against an uninsured driver who can cause significant hardships in your life.

Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is another important part of your auto insurance policy. It will apply to things like the repair or replacement cost of your vehicle as well as a variety of other damages that may directly relate to damaged or destroyed property. 

If your vehicle is damaged and needs repair, you want to know that you can get uninsured motorist coverage to cover these costs, which is even more important if your vehicle is totaled.

Some Specifics Included in Property Damage Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Other personal items such as laptops, cell phones, or anything else that you were transporting in your vehicle at the time of an accident will also be covered if the at-fault driver is an underinsured motorist or uninsured motorist. This is the case if you are able to present the proper documentation and proof of this damage at the time of your claim. 

Again, working with a car accident attorney to ensure that you get the most collision coverage during an underinsured motorist claim is a great way to handle your claim with confidence.

Wrongful Death Coverage

In the event of a fatal car accident with an uninsured driver, the surviving family members of the victim will be able to seek compensation from their liability coverage for a range of damages such as funeral and burial costs, end of life care for the victim, and more. 

Wrongful death cases can be highly overwhelming for family members and loved ones who are trying to recover compensation after losing a loved one in a crash with an uninsured/underinsured motorist. If they try to work with the insurance company without the support of a personal injury attorney, it can lead to a settlement for far less than what they are eligible for under their uninsured or underinsured motorist car insurance policy.

Source: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-releases-2019-crash-fatality-data

Working with a personal injury attorney to file a wrongful death claim against your uninsured motorist coverage is a very good decision, because this process can be stressful regardless, and even more so when victims are trying to come to terms with the reality of a tragic loss while also trying to make sense of their financial future.

Where is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Mandatory?

Compulsory uninsured motorist coverage, or underinsured motorist coverage, may seem like an unnecessary or frustrating additional expense, but according to the Insurance Research Council, “One in eight drivers on the road in 2019 was driving without insurance,” and “In 2019, the estimated countrywide uninsured motorist rate was 12.6 percent.” 

When you consider the fact that you have a nearly 13% chance of being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, purchasing this auto insurance coverage may no longer seem that unreasonable. Uninsured motorist coverage costs are minor compared to the damages you may incur if the at-fault driver does not have collision insurance and you are not adequately protected. 

About Half Of All States Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage

In nearly half of all states and the District of Columbia, there is some form of underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage requirement. However, many states allow for a driver to opt out of this coverage. In many states where this type of liability insurance is not required, there is an option to opt into car insurance protection against an uninsured driver.

Do You Have Uninsured Motorist Insurance In Your Car Insurance Bundle?

Depending on the state you live in and the structure of your policy with your insurance company, there are a variety of ways that an insurance company can bundle your uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. A great way to determine whether you have underinsured motorist insurance or uninsured motorist coverage is to review your liability insurance policy agreements and documents. You can also reach out to your insurance agent directly to make sure that you are able to purchase uninsured motorist coverage if you do not currently have this important liability coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is a Small Cost Compared To Total Damages

Compared to the cost of your overall liability insurance policy, the additional costs to protect yourself against an uninsured motorist are insignificant. This is especially the case when considering the potential enormity of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other common damages following a car accident. 

For a few dollars more a month on your liability insurance payments, you can take to the roads with confidence. So, if you get in a crash with an uninsured motorist, you have the financial means to take care of the issues caused by their reckless or dangerous behavior.

A car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist is one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable, especially if it causes bodily injury. You may need to pay out of pocket if your auto policy does not adequately protect you or your liability limits are too low to pay for all of the damages the accident caused. Speak with your insurance agent as soon as possible to learn about your liability limits, especially if you are in a state with more uninsured drivers than the national average.

Frequently Asked Questions About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

The following are just a few of the many questions commonly asked about uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. It is smart to ask about your car insurance before a crash with an uninsured motorist, and you need compensation for medical expenses, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist property damage, and other damages. It’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who can help you make sure that your uninsured motorist coverage pays what it should.

Keep in mind that the following questions and answers are meant to provide a general idea of your unique situation and are not meant to be taken as legal advice. 1-800-Injured will connect you with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling claims against uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. You can ask specific questions and get clear advice related to your unique situation. Contact us as soon as possible to get the support you need before taking on your car insurance or health insurance providers.

If uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is not required in your state, it is important to understand the importance of having this optional insurance coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage helps alleviate the financial strains caused by the damages from a car accident. It will help if you get in an accident with a driver who does not have enough liability insurance to cover issues like your lost wages, pain and suffering, health insurance costs, and more.

Avoid Stress With Uninsured Motorist Coverage

The stress and long-term impact of not having enough insurance to cover the damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver can be devastating. Especially compared to the relatively minor additional costs associated with your ability to carry liability insurance that protects you against other negligent drivers.

Collision and comprehensive insurance are both important aspects of car insurance, but depending on your specific policy, these options may not extend to uninsured motorist coverage. That means your comprehensive policy may not address issues like medical expenses, bodily injury coverage, property damage coverage, and other issues you will encounter in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. 

Does Comprehensive Coverage Include Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Suppose you have not been in an accident but want to know how you are protected against another driver in a hit and run accident or if they are uninsured. You should connect with your insurance agent to learn about how your coverage pays in these events. 

You may be surprised to discover that your auto policy already protects you against car accidents caused by an underinsured driver. Or you may learn that you do not have underinsured coverage or that your liability limits are not what you expected.

Knowing your coverage, as well as details like whether or not you will need to pay out of pocket for your collision deductible after an accident with uninsured and underinsured drivers, is very important. 

Make sure that you fully understand your underinsured coverage in case you get into a crash with another driver.

There is no easy answer to this question because collision insurance pays regardless of fault and covers a much wider scope of accidents compared to uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Still, uninsured motorist insurance is extremely important if the at-fault driver does not have adequate car insurance to cover your damages. 

You will be able to file a claim against your collision insurance in any situation, but uninsured motorist coverage helps in specific cases where the at-fault driver is unable to cover the costs of damages like property damage, medical bills, funeral expenses, and even pet insurance costs if your pet is hurt in the crash. 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is an Important Safeguard

Uninsured motorist policies are the types of policies that are very nice to have in an emergency when they are not legally required. 

Underinsured motorist property damage and uninsured or underinsured motorist property damage coverage are great protection against uninsured and underinsured motorists.

Again, the answer to this question is specific to your state and how it handles uninsured and underinsured motorist policies. You may need to pay a deductible when filing a claim for uninsured motorist property damage or uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. But even paying a deductible is preferable compared to the amount of money you might need to pay your health insurance or medical bills if you do not have any uninsured motorist insurance at all.

Ask Yourself: Is Paying a Deductible As Devastating As Not Having Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

The risk of paying for uninsured motorist damages on your own typically outweighs the effects of a deductible for your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage or uninsured motorist property damage coverage. So when comparing the potential medical bills you may be on the hook for versus paying a deductible that protects you from uninsured drivers, the choice is often clear about whether or not you should feel comfortable with this important additional car insurance protection.

Contact your insurance agent if you are curious about your payment and fee structure regarding your uninsured and underinsured policy. Different auto insurance companies have different policy requirements, especially from state to state, depending on the legal requirements of carrying uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

There is an important distinction between an uninsured motorist and an underinsured motorist. A driver without any insurance policy cannot cover things like bodily injury coverage, lost wages, and non-economic damages. An underinsured driver does have car insurance, but their policy limits are not high enough to cover all of the damages you have suffered.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Suppose you are in an accident with a driver who has no insurance at all. In that case, you will not have any insurance company other than your own to file a claim against because uninsured drivers have no liability protection. To recover full compensation, victims must either pay out of pocket for their damages or file a claim with their uninsured motorist bodily injury or property damage policies. This is where uninsured and underinsured motorist policies vary the most, as explained in the section below.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in once your claim has exhausted the at-fault driver’s policy limits if your damages exceed the amount their insurance company is willing to pay. For example: if you are claiming $150,000 of bodily injury, but the at-fault driver has a policy limit of $50,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage, then you will need to seek the additional $100,000 (or up to the limit of your underinsured motorist coverage) from your insurance company.

Whether your injury claim is split between the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and your underinsured policy or filed directly against your uninsured motorist coverage, many variables determine the amount of money that a claimant is owed that a personal injury attorney can help you understand. 

After an accident, a victim will seek compensatory damages intended to provide recompense for the damages they have suffered due to the accident. Damages are further subdivided into two distinct categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the primary damages in any personal injury claim, including a claim against a car insurance policy. They include all the losses of an accident that have set and measurable dollar values. These include medical bills, lost wages, the cost to repair or replace damaged property, as well as things like the cost of goods or services meant to alleviate a victim’s suffering as they recover or adjust to permanent injuries. 

Economic damages are sought as 1:1, meaning that the amount demanded during negotiations are identical to the amount that the victim has either spent or lost because of the accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more complicated than economic damages because they offer financial compensation for losses that do not have dollar values, and are often highly subjective. These types of damages include the pain and suffering that a victim experiences as a result of their injuries, as well as various other psychological and emotional repercussions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, a decreased quality of life, and more. 

Since these damages do not have economic values and are not readily quantifiable, there are different methods that personal injury attorneys and insurance adjusters will use when calculating them. When you are connected with a lawyer, they will be able to help you understand these methods and determine which method will result in the most (and most accurate) amount that you are owed before initiating negotiations with the insurance company.

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