Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Everything You Need To Know

car accident

Photo from Robert Francis

Uninsured motorist coverage may only be a requirement in 22 states, but if you ever find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver (and the accident is their fault), you’ll wish that it was true of all 50. That’s because of the natural fallout that occurs when you are struck.


What Happens When An Uninsured Motorist Hits Me?

First of all, there is no company with which you can file your claim. Even though the accident is the other guy’s fault, you’ve still got to recoup those losses from somewhere, and if your policy doesn’t cover it, his policy doesn’t exist, and he’s too poor to pay for the damages himself, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Second, if you incur medical expenses as a result of the negligent driver, you could end up faced with an even steeper bill once you get home from the hospital. While you may have health coverage to sort it all out, keep in mind that you also have to pay a deductible before most of the coverage will kick in. With some ACA deductibles as high as $12,000, that’s a large chunk of change to come up with, especially when the accident wasn’t your fault.

Third, when you are in an accident where there is damage to your car or to your person, there is a likelihood that you’ll miss some work — sometimes a lot of work — thus creating a heavier financial burden on your home life. When you don’t have uninsured motorist protection, you’re pretty much taking a gamble that you won’t miss any work. If you miss that gamble, that’s money you’ll never get back, made doubly worse by the unpaid damages.


Why Are The Damages Unpaid? 

Frankly, if a motorist is too irresponsible to buy the minimum protections, he probably isn’t able to afford paying for anything out-of-pocket. You may be able to get the judge to put a garnish on his wages, but blood doesn’t come so easily from turnips either!

Do you have the money to pay out-of-pocket? How much will your standard policy cover? Determining the answers to these questions is important. Few have the ability to pay for these things on their own, but they have to be settled somehow and if the responsible party isn’t taking care of it, then who else is there?


I’m Convinced. What Else?

By now, you should realize that with or without a state law mandating you carry it, uninsured motorist coverage should become part of your existing policy so you can guard against the one in seven who are currently out on the roadways driving irresponsibly.

(Hat tip to Farmers Insurance for that statistic.)


The two types of uninsured motorist coverage are as follows: 

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage – covers your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering…that sort of thing. But it doesn’t cover car damages resulting from the collision.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage – covers damages to your vehicle but it wouldn’t cover bodily injuries.

(Also Farmers)

With both in place, you are completely covered if an uninsured motorist causes you property damage, medical needs, and the aforementioned lost wages as a result of the accident.


In Summary

The roads represent freedom; but with freedom comes responsibility, and 14 percent of drivers nationwide haven’t made that connection. Don’t fall victim to their carelessness. Add uninsured motorist coverage before you need it and don’t have it. If you’re uncertain, schedule some time as soon as possible to approach your agent and review your policy declarations. Odds are in your favor that you won’t fall victim to one of these drivers, but all it takes is one to have a nasty, lifelong impact.

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