What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Answer If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your accident-related expenses can be covered. And if the other driver does have insurance, but it’s not sufficient to cover your costs (given today’s high medical bills), underinsured motorist coverage can help fill the gap. Most states require drivers to buy liability insurance to cover damage and injuries they cause. Some drivers choose not to buy it, or they might forget to renew it in time. So it’s a good idea to consider adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.

Answer Generally, uninsured motorist insurance — also called UM — provides bodily injury coverage, which pays for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and funeral expenses if you’re in a crash with a driver who doesn’t have insurance. (Underinsured motorist coverage — often called UIM — does the same when the other driver doesn’t have adequate insurance.) It also can cover injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver. Uninsured motorist coverage even helps if you are a pedestrian hit by an uninsured driver. 

In some states, a Farmers® policy may offer uninsured property damage coverage — or UMPD for short. Although it is not usually required by law, some choose to carry this coverage, which helps pay for repairs to your car or other property if you are struck by a hit-and-run or uninsured (or underinsured) motorist. (Click to read more about Farmers auto insurance coverage by state.)

Answer That depends on the laws of your state. About 20 states, plus the District of Columbia, require it; in New Hampshire and Virginia, insurance isn’t required but if you do buy insurance in New Hampshire, you must include uninsured motorist coverage and in Virginia you must pay a $500 fee. But some states require only liability coverage and not property damage coverage.

You may want it even if it’s not required, however. Typically, if you have an accident and it’s the other driver’s fault, their insurance pays if your car needs to go to the shop or you and any passengers are hurt and run up medical bills. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough, the costs will fall to you.

Answer Rates vary by state, depending on how many people in that state operate without insurance. (In 2019, about one in eight drivers were uninsured, according to a 2021 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council. The number varies by state, from a high of almost 30 percent in Mississippi to a low of about 3.5 percent in Massachusetts, the survey shows.) Also important is the coverage limit you choose. Typically, drivers will use the same limits when adding uninsured motorist coverage as they choose for their own liability insurance — and those limits are generally the amount needed to protect their assets. The more assets that need protecting, the higher the premium.

Answer In most states, you can select the same coverage limits as you do for your liability policy. For example, if you carry a $300,000 liability limit, you may want to carry the same amount (or nearly the same) for uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are not always easy to understand. A Farmers agent can help you understand how uninsured motorist coverage works so that you can decide how much coverage you want.

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Underinsured motorist coverage is not offered in all states.

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