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Consider Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage for a Powerful Add-on

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC) between 12 and 15 percent of all drivers currently on the road are driving without any car insurance at all.

That puts you (and the rest of us) at great risk.

If you are in the market or already have a policy you can protect yourself against these folks by making sure your policy has uninsured motorists coverage included.

States with more than 20% uninsured motorists on the road showing Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, and Tennessee.Note: Illustrated above are the states with the highest amount of uninsured motorists according to III.org. Included is the percentage amount in 2010 compared to 2018. The states with the highest amount of uninsured drivers are Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan, and Tennessee. The two states which had an increase over eight years are Florida and Michigan.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage is going to protect you from drivers without coverage.

This is important.

Why?

According to Insurance Information Institute 12 to 15% of drivers were uninsured from 1992 to 2015.

There are two kinds of UM or Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

Bodily injury is similar to bodily injury on your liability policy. It will cover associated injuries to you and their costs. 

Property damage is similar to property damage on your liability policy.

This covers damages to your vehicle and their associated costs.

The difference you need to know about bodily injury and property on your liability policy and uninsured motorist protection is this:

The liability policy will cover the other drivers expenses while uninsured motorist protection will cover your expenses

Additional cost of an auto insurance premium by age if drivers lapses in coverage.Note: Car insurance companies know driving without coverage is common. If you decide to let your coverage lapse you may pay a significantly higher premium than before. As illustrated, each age driver had a 25% increase in their annual premium.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

When you get a policy and you are asked if you want uninsured motorist coverage you may want to know what is covered.

Below I have outlined the items which should be covered with uninsured motorist bodily injury.

  • Hospital bills and medical care expenses.
  • Lost wages if you are unable to work due to an injury.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage should cover the following items:

  • Damage to your vehicle and/or home

You may be asking what if there are additional passengers in my vehicle?

Such as your children?

If you have uninsured motorist coverage then yes.

The numbers will you see are similar to your liability policy.

Such as 15,000/30,000/15,000.

The first number is the amount bodily injury coverage for a single driver or $15,000.

While the second number is the amount of coverage for additional passengers in the vehicle or $30,000.

Which States Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

While most well crafted car insurance policies will have uninsured motorists coverage as a clause, there are a few states where it is a legal requirement for licensed drivers.

You’ll need to include uninsured motorists coverage with your car insurance policy if you live in one of these states:

StateUM RequirementsStateUM Requirements
Connecticut25,000/50,000New Jersey15,000/30,000
District of Columbia - Washington D.C.25,000/50,000New York25,000/50,000
Illinois 25,000/50,000North Carolina30,000/60,000
Kansas 25,000/50,000North Dakota25,000/50,000
Maine 50,000/100,000Oregon25,000/50,000
Maryland30,000/60,000South Carolina25,000/50,000
Massachusetts 20,000/40,000South DakotaMandatory
Minnesota25,000/50,000Vermont25,000/50,000
Missouri25,000/50,000Virginia25,000/50,000
Nebraska25,000/50,000West Virginia25,000/50,000
New Hampshire25,000/50,000Wisconsin25,000/50,000

(You will also need to have this option in place if you live in Washington, D.C.)

The list above provides the minimum coverage required.

Depending on your situation and type of vehicle you may need to get more coverage.

I didn’t include the property damage requirements since the amount is the same for 1st number for bodily injury.

Percentage drivers without coverage year by year and future trends.Note: Illustrated above is the year by year trend of drivers without proper coverage from 2009 to 2018. The trend was on a decline until recently. The trend is expected to increase by 2021. This would make it more risky for you to not have the proper coverage for your vehicle.

How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cost?

The cost of uninsured motorist coverage is much cheaper than your regular liability policy.

The amount you are going to pay depends on the state you reside and other factors such as your driving habits.

I have found the average for uninsured motorist protection per year is approximately $22 to $74 for the minimum coverage.

For more coverage your premium could double to $44 and $140 per year.

Below I have a table showing the cost for uninsured motorist protection for three states with varying amounts of coverage.

StateCoverage Premium per year
Kansas25,000/50,000$15
50,000/100,000$27
100,000/30,0000$41
New York25,000/50,000$22
50,000/100,000$41
100,000/30,0000$76
Wisconsin25,000/50,000$18
50,000/100,000$37
100,000/30,0000$59

Typically the state with a high amount uninsured motorist coverage will have higher premiums.

This is not true in all instances.

The state of Maine has higher than average uninsured motorist premiums though the state has a low amount of uninsured motorists.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Many insurance companies offer underinsured motorist coverage separate and distinct from uninsured motorist coverage.

Some companies will combine uninsured with underinsured motorist coverage.

On the other hand, underinsured motorist coverage is interesting.

Even if a driver who has his/her state’s legal liability levels in place hits you, many mandatory state coverage levels are quite low compared to what medical treatment or car repair bills can be.

Therefore if you get hit by an insured driver with minimum coverage and your medical bills exceed the limit of the insured driver’s package underinsured motorist coverage can cover you. 

How much Uninsured Motorist Coverage should you get?

If you live in a state requiring you to carry uninsured motorist coverage, the state will set a minimum level needed to meet that requirement.

(Believe it or not, there are some states that have set a cap on the amount of uninsured motorists coverage an insurer can sell you.)

As a rule of thumb, it makes sense to put uninsured motorist coverage levels in place that mirror whatever liability coverage levels you have.

As I mentioned previously like liability coverage, uninsured motorist options usually have two parts: a bodily injury portion and a property damage portion.

Also note that as far as optional coverage selections go, uninsured motorists coverage is one of the least expensive add-ons you can include in a car insurance policy.

When you Shouldn’t get Uninsured Motorist Coverage

There are no-fault states which require you to get Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage. 

PIP coverage is going to cover your injuries if the other driver has coverage or not.

So you would not have to worry about being covered with uninsured motorist coverage in a state that requires PIP.

However, there are some states, such as Minnesota, which require PIP coverage and uninsured motorist protection. 

StateMinimum Coverage RequiredNo-Fault or Tort Laws
Delaware$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 funeral expenses
Tort
Florida$10,000 per personNo-Fault
Hawaii$10,000 per personNo-Fault
Kansas$4,500 per person for medical expenses
$4,500 for rehab expenses
$2,000 funeral expenses
$900 per month for disability/loss of income
$25 per day for in-home expenses
No-Fault
Kentucky$10,000 per personNo-Fault
Maryland$2,500 per accidentTort
Massachusetts$8,000 per personNo-Fault
MichiganUnlimited medical expenses
Up to $5,189/month in lost income
$20 per day for replacement services
No-Fault
Minnesota$20,000 for medical expenses
$20,000 for loss of income
No-Fault
New Jersey$15,000 per person
$250,000 for severe/permanent injury
No-Fault
New York$50,000 per person
$2,000 death benefit
80% of lost income up to $2,000/month
$25 per day for services
No-Fault
North Dakota$30,000 per personNo-Fault
Oregon$15,000 per personTort
Pennsylvania$5,000 per accidentNo-Fault
Utah$3,000 per person
$1,500 per person funeral expenses
$3,000 death benefit
$250/wk or 85% of lost income (whichever is less)
$20 per day for services
No-Fault

Is the Coverage Worth It?

Each year over 2.5 million people take trips to the emergency room and out of the 2.5 million over 200,000 have extended hospital stays. With the average medical cost of $54,000 to $68,000. 

The answer is yes – it is worth it.

One of the cost-effective add-ons to your policy is uninsured motorist protection.

If you have $25,000 in coverage and unfortunately have bills which cost twice as much you would’t be covered for the other half.

Personally I have $100,000 in uninsured motorist protection for my and my wife’s vehicles.

I was able to double my coverage for less than a few bucks a month.

So it’s worth it.

It is much better than being bogged down with bills you can’t pay. 

Stacking and Supplementary Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This feature is pretty cool and many don’t know about it.

There are some states which allow you to do what is called “Stacking”. 

Stacked coverage means you are able to collect from more than one policy when you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

There are couple of ways “stacking” can work.

If you have multiple vehicles under one policy you may be able to collect up to the insured limit for each vehicle under the policy.

The other way “stacking” can work.

If you have multiple policies which list you as the primary driver you may be able to collect from all of them up to the full cost of your injuries if involved in an automobile accident.

Some states allow insured drivers injured as a passenger in a vehicle he or she doesn’t own covered by both uninsured motorist coverage of the vehicle he was riding in “and” in the coverage of his or her’s own policy.

Stacked Coverage May Cost More, but Worth it

You have a right to purchase “stacked” coverage.

It’s definitely better if you have two or more vehicles.

Below is table showing which states allow stacking and which don’t.

In addition, I have included a search bar feature to help you find your state.

StateLiability
UM/UIM
stacking allowed?
Stacking Notes
Alabama25/50/25Yesn/a
Alaska50/100/25
Non/a
Arizona15/30/10Non/a
Arkansas25/50/25YesAlthough stacking coverage is not statutorily prohibited, it may be precluded by applicable anti-stacking clause in a policy.
California15/30/5Non/a
Colorado25/50/15Yesn/a
Connecticut20/40/10Non/a
Delaware15/30/10YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Florida10/20/10YesStacking is allowed, unless waived in writing on state-approved form.
Georgia25/50/25YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Hawaii20/40/10NoNot allowed under multiple policies, but insurer must offer the option to purchase stacking under a single policy.
Idaho25/50/15Non/a
Illinois20/40/15Non/a
Indiana25/50/10NoOnly allowed under one policy if separate and specific premium is charged for UM coverage.
Iowa20/40/15Non/a
Kansas25/50/10Non/a
Kentucky25/50/10Yesn/a
Louisiana15/30/25Non/a
Maine50/100/25Non/a
Maryland30/60/15Non/a
Massachusetts
20/40/5Non/a
Michigan20/40/10Non/a
Minnesota30/60/10Non/a
Mississippi25/50/25YesWhile stacking is allowed, clear anti-stacking clauses in an insurance policy have been upheld by the courts.
Missouri25/50/10Yesn/a
Montana25/50/10Yesn/a
Nebraska25/50/25Non/a
Nevada15/30/10Yesn/a
New Hampshire25/50/25YesUnless clearly excluded by an insurer’s policy.
New Jersey15/30/5YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
New Mexico
25/50/10Yesn/a
New York25/50/10YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
North Carolina
30/60/25Yes
Stacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
North Dakota25/50/25Non/a
Ohio25/50/25YesUnless clearly excluded by an insurer’s policy.
Oklahoma25/50/25YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Oregon25/50/20YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Pennsylvania15/30/5Yes
But insured may select no-stacking option for a reduced premium.
Rhode Island
25/50/25Yesn/a
South Carolina
25/50/25YesUnless clearly excluded by an insurer’s policy.
South Dakota25/50/25Non/a
Tennessee25/50/15YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Texas30/60/25YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Utah25/65/15YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.
Vermont25/50/10Yesn/a
Virginia25/50/20Yesn/a
Washington25/50/10NoBut anti-stacking language must be very clear in the insurer’s policy.
West Virginia
20/40/10YesBut insurer may clearly prohibit stacking in a single policy.
Wisconsin25/50/10YesBut insurer may limit coverage to 3 vehicles.
Wyoming25/50/20YesStacking is allowed but only among multiple policies.

Supplementary uninsured motorist coverage is basically the same as the regular coverage but will cover costs if you are in an accident with a uninsured driver from another state.

Sources

https://leavitt.com/uninsured-motorist-coverage/

https://policygenius.com/do-i-need-uninsured-motorist-insurance/

https://www.iii.org/uninsured-motorists

https://www.tdi.texas.gov/uninsured-motorist-coverage.html

https://attorneydesmond.com/kentucky-uninsured-driver-loophole/

Jeffrey Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson

Jeffrey Davidson is a writer with Reply!. He has more than 25 years of marketing research, public relations consulting and freelance writing experience and work in all areas of the auto insurance industry. For more help, see his main article on State Farm.

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