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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

By Kenny Zhu · March 18, 2022 · 7 minute read

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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage shields you from having to pay for injuries and property damage in accidents that weren’t your fault and were caused by an uninsured driver.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12.6% of motorists on the road are uninsured. Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage reduces the likelihood that you’ll have to pay out of pocket if you’re involved in an accident caused by one of these irresponsible drivers.

It’s generally a good idea to add uninsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy, as it’s fairly inexpensive, usually only costing an extra $5 – $10 a month, per vehicle, for policyholders with clean driving histories. Below, we give you the scoop on the different kinds of uninsured motorist coverage and what these policies entail.

Breaking Down Uninsured Motorist Coverage Variations

There are two main kinds of uninsured motorist coverage. Similar to your standard auto insurance policy’s collision and bodily injury coverage, this kind of policy breaks down into uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

•   Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: Covers your party’s medical expenses and related costs in accidents caused by uninsured drivers.

•   Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: Covers your repair bills and related costs in accidents caused by uninsured drivers.

Bodily injury and property damage coverage for uninsured motorists are sometimes packaged and sold together when you purchase uninsured motorist insurance. However, this isn’t the case with all policies; check with your insurance provider to know for sure. Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these kinds of coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI)

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) pays for the cost of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral costs (though we hope that is never needed) in the event an uninsured driver causes an accident in which you’re the victim.

In some instances, this policy may pay out if you, as a pedestrian or bicyclist, is involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Check with your insurance provider to confirm whether this might be covered.

UMBI typically does not have a deductible to meet; you would get full reimbursement of the costs.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage (UMPD)

Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) pays for the cost of repair bills for either your vehicle or property in the event either is involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

Unlike bodily injury coverage, UMPD often requires the payment of a deductible when used. This is usually set by state law and typically is around two to five hundred dollars.

Uninsured vs Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Here’s another kind of coverage you should know about: underinsured motorist coverage, which helps cover your costs if you’re involved in an accident where the party at fault has insufficient insurance coverage to pay for your medical costs.

Underinsured motorist coverage differs from uninsured motorist coverage in that it’s designed to cover any shortfalls in your costs due to the underinsured motorist’s inadequate insurance policy. By contrast, uninsured motorist coverage covers your bills due to the uninsured driver’s failure to purchase insurance.

Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage also comes in bodily injury and property damage variants. Both bodily injury and property damage coverage is usually packaged and sold together, though insurance policies may vary.

Underinsured motorist coverage is sold separately from uninsured motorist coverage, and states can have different coverage requirements for each. Check with your insurance provider to verify whether you need to purchase these separately.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limits

Your auto insurance quote will typically break down your uninsured motorist coverage limits into two numbers: a smaller dollar figure followed by a larger dollar figure, separated by a slash. For example, $100,000/$300,000.

This can also be expressed as follows:

•   $100,000 per person

•   $300,000 per accident

These two numbers represent the per person and per accident coverage limits of your uninsured motorist insurance. The per person limit is the maximum your insurance company will pay for any single individual injured in a covered accident. Conversely, the per accident limit is the maximum your insurance company will pay for a covered accident, regardless of how many injured people are in your party.

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limits Work

If you’re thinking, “But what exactly does that mean?” we hear you. Let’s spell out how this coverage would work. If you have a family of five that’s riding in a car and it gets hit by an uninsured driver, the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for their cumulative medical bills is $300,000, despite each individual’s coverage limit being $100,000.

If you’re ever involved in an accident caused by an uninsured driver where your costs exceed your coverage limits, in most cases, your health insurance policy will usually kick in to cover the balance. Consult your insurance providers for the specifics on your policies.

How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do I Need?

The answer depends on whether your state requires uninsured motorist coverage. If it does, you must buy at least the state’s minimum (for more details, see below). Typically, this amount will match your liability coverage amounts. If your state does not require this kind of coverage, consider variables like the healthcare costs in your state and how much your vehicle is worth. Generally, uninsured motorist coverage is fairly affordable and is a worthy investment for some peace of mind.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately one in eight drivers on the road are uninsured. This figure is even higher in states like Mississippi and Michigan, where over 25% of drivers on the road are estimated to be uninsured.

Based on those figures, residents of higher risk states may be well-served by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage, while it might not be as high of a priority for residents of lower-risk states, like Massachusetts or New Jersey, where 3.5% and 3.1% of drivers respectively are estimated to be uninsured.

Now, let’s circle back to the states that do require this kind of policy. The table below lists the regulations regarding the minimum required uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for each state.

Recommended: What Does Liability Auto Insurance Typically Cover?

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Requirements by State

Let’s take a look at the guidelines in every state, so you can see how much coverage may be required where you live. In each category, the amount shown is per person/per accident. When there is not a figure in an area of the chart, that means the insurance isn’t required.


Uninsured Bodily Injury

Uninsured Property Damage

Underinsured Bodily Injury

Underinsured Property Damage

Connecticut $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
District of Columbia $25,000/$50,000 $5,000
Illinois $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
Kansas $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
Maine $50,000/$100,000 $50,000/$100,000
Maryland $30,000/$60,000 $15,000 $30,000/$60,000 $15,000
Massachusetts $20,000/$40,000
Minnesota $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
Missouri $25,000/$50,000
Nebraska $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
New Hampshire* $25,000/$50,000 $25,000 $25,000/$50,000 $25,000
New Jersey $15,000/$30,000
New York $25,000/$50,000
North Carolina $30,000/$60,000 $25,000 $30,000/$60,000 $25,000
North Dakota $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
Oregon $25,000/$50,000
Rhode Island
South Carolina $25,000/$50,000 $25,000
South Dakota $25,000/$50,000 $25,000/$50,000
Vermont $50,000/$100,000 $10,000 $50,000/$100,000 $10,000
Virginia* $25,000/$50,000 $20,000 $25,000/$50,000 $20,000
West Virginia $25,000/$50,000 $25,000
Wisconsin $25,000/$50,000

*New Hampshire and Virginia do not require drivers to purchase auto insurance, but drivers who do choose to purchase auto insurance must have at least the minimum uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage amounts listed.

How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Cost?

Depending on how much uninsured motorist coverage you choose to purchase and your personal driving habits, your costs could be as little as $5 to $10 per month. This figure also tends to vary widely based on the overall percentage of uninsured motorists in your area, according to national insurance data.

Insurance premiums vary widely across drivers, states, and even insurance providers, so make sure you check around for a personalized quote.

The Takeaway

The prospect of being in an accident caused by an uninsured driver is a real concern, given the number of these motorists on the road. Adding uninsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy may be a good idea. In some states, it may even be required by law. For a relatively low cost, you can protect yourself from the possibility of being left with bills because another driver didn’t have enough insurance.

Protecting Your Loved Ones: What SoFi and Ladder Can Offer You

The right package of car insurance policies is one way to protect yourself from unexpected circumstances. Another form of protection that can be vital to your loved ones is life insurance, which would allow them to pay the bills if you weren’t there to provide for them. SoFi has partnered with Ladder to bring you term life insurance at competitive rates for policies ranging from $100,000 to $8 million. Plus, getting a quote and purchasing is so simple to do online.

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Photo credit: iStock/RyanJLane

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