Watch Your Back! Is There a Way to Insure Yourself Against the Uninsured?
Uninsured coverage is there to help protect you from drivers without sufficient auto insurance
Quick take: Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance?
• Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) provides coverage when another driver is at fault in an auto accident and fails to carry liability coverage.
• Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) applies when the at-fault driver’s limits of liability insurance are insufficient to compensate you after an injury accident.
• Rates for UM and UIM coverages vary greatly by state, as do the laws guiding any requirements.
• Because laws vary, an experienced agent can help you by discussing insurance options so you can make an informed decision about whether you should carry UM and UIM coverages, and at what limits.
Q. In my state, auto liability insurance is required if you want to drive a car, but I still wonder about whether some drivers on the road are actually insured. If not, is there insurance to help provide coverage if I’m hit by a driver without insurance? Is it mandatory?
We posed this question to Theresa Geving, a Farmers Insurance® agent based in Overland Park, Kansas, who is happy to help customers understand uninsured motorist coverage options.
A. Good news, there is coverage to help protect you, known as uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist.
No matter where you live, some drivers will inevitably fail to buy insurance or allow their insurance to expire. Uninsured motorist or UM coverage provides coverage in these situations. Other drivers may only purchase the minimum amount of liability insurance required by the state. But, in today’s world of high medical bills, these limits of liability coverage may not go very far. Underinsured motorist or UIM coverage can provide coverage in cases where the at-fault driver has insufficient liability limits to cover the accident and related injuries. In some states, both scenarios are covered by UM coverage.
Should you be struck by a driver with less than sufficient insurance, UM and UIM coverages are designed to help provide medical benefits for you, your family and your passengers, by allowing your own insurer to “stand in the shoes” of the other driver, as if that other vehicle were covered by insurance.
“Does my state require UM or UIM coverage?”
It depends, some states do. Your insurance agent can help you determine if coverage is mandatory or optional in the state where you live, and discuss some of the advantages of both coverages, whether or not your state requires it. Then you can decide on the coverage you want.
“How expensive are UM and UIM coverage?”
Rates for UM and UIM insurance vary by state depending largely on how many people in that state operate without insurance. Some states have higher percentages of uninsured drivers than others. The limit of coverage you purchase also affects rates. Of course, the higher the limit, the greater the cost of the premium.
In some states, Farmers also offers UM property damage (UMPD) coverage, which provides coverage for physical damage to your vehicle if you are struck by a hit-and-run or uninsured motorist.
“How much UM and UIM insurance should I carry?”
In most states, individuals can select the same UM/UIM limits as your liability limits. For example, if you carry $300,000 liability limits, you may want to carry the same amount or nearly the same limits of UM/UIM coverage, as well.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are not always easy to understand. Always work with an experienced agent to decide on the appropriate UM and UIM coverage limits you want.