TLTR:The first thing you do when another driver hits your car is to ask for their insurance details. But what if they don’t have insurance? This article discusses uninsured motorist property damage, what it does, and how much to invest in it.
The Insurance Research Council reports that at least one in eight drivers is uninsured or underinsured. Think about that the next time you pass up on proper car insurance coverage.The same report claims that drivers who don’t follow state guidelines for insurance are invariably to blame for the $78 hike in insurance for the drivers who do follow the state requirements. Purchasing insurance doesn’t only save your vehicle from liabilities, it also gives you good karma!
What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
If you’re a thrill-seeker, we recommend sky-diving. Driving without insurance isn’t worth the risk or the jailtime. Uninsured motorists are not only breaking the law, they’re also facing double the costs of paying for third-party liabilities.
When an uninsured or underinsured motorist collides with your car, it’s less than likely that they will pay for your damage. Even worse, what if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run? Uninsured motorist insurance covers the medical payments, loss of income, and any property damage due to such accidents. It’s not a stand-alone policy and comes as an add-on to your personal auto policy and commercial auto insurance.
Typically, uninsured motorist insurance is divided into three categories:
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance
Uninsured motorist bodily insurance coverage pays for any medical bills, loss of wages, and other suffering that the hit-and-run incident inflicted upon you and your passengers.
For instance, your car was hit by an uninsured motorist, and your passenger needs urgent medical care. The motorist can’t pay for the bills. Luckily, your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage will take care of those bills.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Sometimes, people purchase insurance, but only to comply with the state requirements. For example, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, any vehicle registered in Florida must have personal injury protection and property damage liability worth $10,000 each.
However, if those drivers with minimum coverage total your car and don’t have enough coverage to pay for a replacement, your underinsured motorist insurance will come to the rescue.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance
Apart from bodily injury coverage and underinsured motorist coverage, property damage is one of the most expensive costs after a hit-and-run. Insurance.com reports that the most common auto body repair claims are dented bumpers, deep paint scratches, cracked windshields, suspension damage, and rear-end damage.
The cost of repairing dented bumpers and cracked windshields starts at around $600, but correcting deep paint scratches can cost up to $3,500 or more.
Why should you pay such high bills for a mistake you didn’t even make? If you have uninsured motorist property damage insurance, you don’t have to. The policy takes care of it.
Who Needs Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
The aforementioned study from the Insurance Research Council shows that the following states have the highest percentage of uninsured drivers:
- Mississippi: 29.4%
- Michigan: 25.5%
- Tennessee: 23.7%
- New Mexico: 21.8%
- Washington: 21.7%
Uninsured motorists not only pose a threat to their own savings, but they also put the rest of the drivers on the road at risk. Imagine driving within the speed limit on your lane on a stressful Monday only to be hit by a strange person’s car, and then realizing they don’t have the proper coverage to pay for the fender–bender they caused.
We recommend that everyone get coverage against uninsured/underinsured motorists. It’s worth the investment.
Which States Require Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Although car insurance is mandatory in all 50 states, uninsured motorist insurance isn’t. Most states have listed the coverage as optional. However, a total of 19 states requires uninsured motorist insurance as of 2021. Let’s look at the minimum required coverage for each of these states:
|State||Uninsured Motorist Coverage per Accident||Uninsured Motorist Coverage Per Accident||Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage Per Accident|
How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cost?
The average annual cost of uninsured motorist property damage is $50-$75 for a coverage plan of $25,000, as stated by WalletHub. Most insurance agents will agree that an individual needs an uninsured motorist insurance coverage of at least $100,000. However, many factors affect your final insurance premium, such as car make and model, driving history, credit score, and the state you live in.
If you’re looking to purchase insurance, MarketWatch recommends the following car insurance companies:
- The best insurance company for car insurance for veterans and military
- Offers insurance in all 50 states
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2. State Farm
- A great option for car insurance for new drivers and students
- A++ financial rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from Better Business Bureau
- Great options for uninsured and underinsured coverage
Here’s a list of other insurance companies that offer uninsured motorist property damage and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage plans:
- The Hartford
For more accurate premium and coverage details, you need to talk to a local insurance agent in your state.
Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Worth It?
It should come as no surprise that we recommend purchasing an uninsured motorist insurance policy. Which is better—paying for insurance now and having a safety net to fall back on when bad things happen, or paying out of pocket for unforeseen incidents?
We understand that affordable coverage is more important if you’re on a budget, but you can work with an insurance agent and figure out the best possible coverage plan that works for you.
No matter how great a driver you might be, if someone crashes into you, you’re looking at a minimum of hundreds of dollars in repairs. If that person happens to be underinsured or uninsured, you will have to cover these costs on your own. Would you have the financial wherewithal to pay for the repairs yourself?
If you’re not sure what kind of insurance policies you should consider with uninsured motorist insurance, then you need the expert assistance of an insurance agent. Our insurance directory houses local insurance agents with years of experience and a knack for an affordable auto insurance policy. Find an agent and start talking policies right away.
Did you find this article helpful? Comment below and let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover Hit-and-Runs?
Yes, uninsured motorist insurance covers accidents from uninsured drivers and hit-and-run accidents. A hit-and-run case is when a car hits another car, a pedestrian, or an object on the street and leaves the scene before the police can arrive. If you have collision and uninsured motorist insurance, you will be covered for property damage, bodily injury, and underinsured motorists against hit-and-runs.
Do I need Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
Of course, you do! Uninsured motorist insurance may seem juvenile, especially since auto insurance is mandatory in most states. But you can’t trust people not to break the rules. Moreover, some drivers like to only go for state-mandated coverage limits. These policies can keep them from getting into legal trouble, but in case of accidents, their insurance hardly pays for anything.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance covers you for both of these instances.
Is Driving Without Insurance Illegal?
In most states, yes. If caught driving without auto insurance, you will be fined $500 or more, your license and registration will be suspended for a month, and you will have to pay a reinstatement fee as well. If you’re caught several times, you could possibly face jail time. Here are some other penalties you could face:
- Community Service
- SR-22 Requirement
- Vehicle Impoundment
If you’re a new driver or a teenager learning to drive, you should definitely get the coverage. Purchasing car insurance without a license can be tough, but not impossible. Contact your insurance agent for more information.
Will My Insurance Premium Increase If There’s a Gap in My Coverage?
Yes, your insurance premium will likely be raised if there’s a gap in your coverage. There are quite a few reasons you can experience a gap in your insurance, such as non-payment or late payment. If your insurance company finds that you’re at fault in an accident, you could potentially be dropped from coverage.
For insurance providers, a gap in coverage signals that you’re not thorough with payments, are a high-risk customer, or are probably simply irresponsible. Therefore, you’re a high-risk client, which means that you’ll be paying higher premiums for your insurance policies.
Keep in mind that you can qualify for discounts over the years if you keep up a good driving history and pay your premiums on time. Talk to your insurance agent for details.
What Should I Do If I Get Affected in A Hit-And-Run?
A driver hurriedly leaving the scene after an accident isn’t only selfish—they are breaking the law. Here’s what you can do after someone hits you and leaves you to fend for yourself.
- Note everything you remember about the car, including any of the license-plate number, make and model of the car.
- Gather witnesses and ask for any details you may have missed. Get their contact numbers as well.
- Document the damage so you have proof to show your insurance providers and the cops.
- Report the car crash to the police.
- Call up your insurance agent and explain the incident with proof.
What Is the Difference Between Uninsured Motorist Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
Uninsured motorist insurance covers all property damage and bodily liability in case of a collision with the at-fault driver who doesn’t carry liability coverage.
Underinsured motorist insurance covers the same liabilities in case of collisions with the at-fault driver who does carry coverage, but not enough to cover all the expenses. For instance, your car is hit by another car while you were parked. The at-fault driver has coverage worth $15,000, but your repair costs come to $18,000. Their insurance will pay for $15,000 worth of damage, and your underinsured motorist insurance will cover the rest.
Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance If I Already Have Health Coverage?
Health insurance usually covers your medical expenses and treatment for injuries regardless of whether you were in a car accident. But more insurance is always better than less or no insurance. Your uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance policy will cover medical bills, and uninsured motorist property damage covers your repair and replacement costs.
Should I Get Uninsured Motorist Insurance or Collision Coverage?
Uninsured motorist property damage and bodily insurance coverage pay for your repairs and medical expenses if you get in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Remember that it only pays if you’re not at fault for the accident.
On the other hand, collision coverage pays for property damage and medical bills regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If you’re on a limited budget, you can opt for collision coverage instead of uninsured motorist insurance. Consult with your insurance agent before making any decisions.
January 30th, 2023 · 9 mins read
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