McAfee Secure sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

Uninsured and Underinsured Car Insurance Coverage

If you get into a car accident caused by the other driver, and that driver has little or no insurance, your legal recourse for attempting to recover damages gets a lot more complicated. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage exists to cover you in these types of situations, helping to pay for certain expenses you may incur in the aftermath of such an accident. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are not mandatory in most states, but they are an excellent option to consider when it comes time to put together your own package of coverage. You need this important form of coverage for protection in different situations in which no other auto insurance type will pay for your losses.

The Importance of Uninsured Coverage

Uninsured motorist protection is quite simply a form of coverage that protects the insured policy holder against the risk of uncompensated losses following an accident with a driver who has no auto insurance and is found liable for the crash. Uninsured motorist coverage is only in force when liability can be proven, and is determined to fall with the other driver. For the sake of uninsured motorist coverage, not having insurance can mean several different things: the negligent driver could be carrying no auto insurance coverage at all; his or her coverage could fall short of the state's minimum guidelines for auto insurance; the insurance company representing the negligent or liable driver could be unwilling or unable to pay the claim (claim denial or financial insolvency on the part of the provider; or, the accident could be a hit-and-run situation, which is treated as an uninsured driver case.

Uninsured drivers remain a significant minority out on U.S. roads in spite of the various states' best efforts at reducing the number of uninsured motorists through different legislative and educational methods. Getting into an accident with one of them can become a nightmare scenario if he they are found liable for the accident and you sustain various injuries requiring medical treatment. Chances are you will be forced to pay for your medical expenses out of pocket while you attempt to be reimbursed for your expenses. Adding to the depth of the situation could be personal property loss such as significant damage to your vehicle. If you do not have insurance coverage protecting you in such instances, your loss of property could also go uncompensated.

Uninsured motorist coverage is an effective and affordable add-on to your auto policy in most states; in some others, it is actually mandatory. Uninsured motorist contains bodily injury coverage, and can also contain property damage provisions. The split form of uninsured coverage is very similar to that of auto liability insurance; it has the same three parts each covering the same areas. That is because it is in place for situations when liability insurance is lacking in the other driver's coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage only pays out in situations where liability can be determined and the accident is ruled to have been caused by the other driver. Of course, some states have provisions requiring one driver to be found liable, but others have no such requirement.

The bodily injury portion of uninsured motorist protection has two basic parts. The first is set aside for injuries to the covered driver; the second is earmarked for cases when multiple injuries occur (i.e. when there are additional passengers in the covered vehicle at the time of the accident). Each state requiring this area of auto insurance as a part of every driver's policy has specific stipulations regarding the minimum levels of coverage required by that state. If you live in one of these states, it is your responsibility to know these minimum limits and to abide by them. Chances are your insurance provider will not even offer to sell a policy not meeting these state guidelines, but it is always better to check and make sure you are covered.

The Value of Underinsured Coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage works in much the same way as uninsured coverage, even if the former's content and application are both slightly different from the latter. It is put into use in virtually identical situations, with the one exception being that the liable driver involved in accidents in which underinsured coverage is applied does have some form of liability insurance. The insured liable driver in these situations simply does not have enough liability coverage to cover all the costs associated with the accident. Underinsured motorist protection goes to work on behalf of policy holders to pay the excess costs of bodily injuries and property damage (if this portion of coverage is present), beyond the limits of the negligent party's liability coverage and up to the insured's policy limits less deductible.

Underinsured (and uninsured) motorist coverage is important to have in these types of situations. Even if you are covered by excellent liability coverage, that protection will do nothing for you in collision situations in which the other driver is found liable. If you do not have collision coverage on your vehicle, this form of protection is especially important. Each area of auto insurance coverage, from the mandatory parts to the elective portions, all work together to form a total package of protection that takes care of you in the widest possible range of circumstances.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are certainly no exception. There is no other area of auto insurance specifically set aside to protect you in exactly the same way as these two important components do. It is true that in certain instances collision coverage also protects you from property loss to your vehicle, but collision coverage has no provisions for medical expenses. A completely separate medical payments coverage endorsement would be necessary to do this. But many drivers cannot afford an extra endorsement like medical payments coverage. And for vehicles that are older and not worth very much money, collision coverage represents a questionable monetary investment at best.

In many cases, the main focus of your auto insurance protection should be on covering yourself and not your car. Your medical expenses can far exceed the possible losses on your vehicle in most cases. That's why the bodily injury portion of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is especially important. This coverage is very inexpensive in the context of your overall auto insurance bill, but having it in your back pocket can really benefit you as an insured driver when an accident happens.

Adding Elective Auto Insurance Protection

Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection are just two examples among a handful of elective coverage options well worth considering when it comes time to set down your preferences for car insurance protection. Particularly in situations when the covered driver is looking to beef up coverage while holding down the premium, they are an excellent choice. Adding elective car insurance protection like uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is simple. When renewal time approaches (or at any time during the year, really), simply take a look at the monetary effect these areas of coverage will have on your overall premium. Most drivers will find that the added protection afforded by uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is well worth the cost.



FREE Quotes, Multiple Insurers

Zip Code