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Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists: How Much Coverage Should I get?

Uninsured And Underinsured

Purchasing  auto insurance is one of the most important aspects of owning a vehicle.  All states, bar New Hampshire, require motorists to have a certain amount of insurance coverage for themselves and their vehicles.  This minimum amount of insurance is known as mandatory minimum coverage and the specific level of coverage varies from state to state.  The state of Texas does require uninsured motorist coverage to legally drive.

 

Failing to ensure that you have the minimum coverage mandated by your state is a violation of the law.  In many states, the mandatory minimum coverage applies to coverage against uninsured or underinsured drivers.  In this article, we will look at how much coverage should get to cover you against uninsured motorists.  

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist cover refers to a specific type of car insurance that is designed to protect you if you have an accident caused by another driver who is uninsured.  It can also be applied to instances when an accident occurs and the at-fault driver does have insurance, but not enough to sufficiently cover the losses of the policyholder.  

What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?

With uninsured motorist coverage, if an accident occurs as a result of an uninsured driver, your medical expenses and the vehicle repair bills will be covered by your own insurance plan.  There are two main types of uninsured motorist coverage that you can purchase, they are known as bodily injury (UMBI) and property damage (UMPD).  

UMBI will cover any injury to your person as a direct result of an accident with an uninsured driver, this includes covering medical expenses.  UMPD will cover any damage to your car that occurs as a result of an accident with an uninsured driver.  Both of these types of coverage will only pay out if the uninsured driver is at fault for the accident. 

Uninsured motorist insurance is required in twenty states, plus the District of Columbia.  There are a further 14 states that require motorists to have underinsured motorist coverage.   However, even if you live in a state where underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory, it is a good idea to have this coverage to make sure that you are protected in all accident situations.

How Does Uninsured Motorist Cover Work?

Uninsured motorist coverage works in a similar way to liability coverage.  If you are involved in an accident on the road with a driver that is uninsured, your uninsured motorist cover effectively replaces the liability insurance that they should have had.  If you have an accident with another motorist who has insurance but not enough to cover your medical, repair bills and other damages, underinsured motorist coverage will cover the gaps that are left.  

It is important to note that legally, uninsured motorist cover only applies in certain situations.  To make a claim on your uninsured motorist policy the accident needs to be the fault of the uninsured driver.  You will need to provide evidence that the fault lies with the other driver to your insurance company.  

The at-fault driver needs to provide evidence that they are uninsured or that their insurance isn’t enough to cover the medical and repair bills that result from the accident.  Uninsured motorist coverage can also be applied if the policyholder is involved in a hit-and-run accident in the state of Texas.  Although, it is worth noting that this isn’t the case in all states. 

Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Cover?

If you live in a state in which uninsured motorist coverage is required by law, then yes, you definitely need this coverage on your insurance.  If you live in one of the states where uninsured motorist cover isn’t legally required, it is still a good idea to add it to your policy if it is available.  Adding this extra level of coverage to your insurance policy can provide you with extra peace of mind when traveling on the road.  It is important to remember that your standard insurance policy may not protect you if you are hit by an uninsured motorist.

How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do You Need?

The level of uninsured motorist coverage that you choose to add to your insurance policy is your own choice.  However, the more you have the more you are protected so get quotes to see which premium you can afford. Many times having a much larger policy does not cost too much more than a smaller policy with many insurance companies. 

How Much Does Uninsured Motorist Cover Cost?

The price of uninsured motorist coverage depends on the amount of coverage that is purchased and the additional risk factors of the policyholder.  States that have a higher recorded number of uninsured drivers on the road will have higher premiums for uninsured motorist coverage.  This is because you are much more likely to be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver if there are more uninsured drivers on the road.  Texas, for example, has a high amount of uninsured drivers.  

Ultimately, the cost of adding UMBI and UMPD coverage to your insurance policy is going to be significantly cheaper and more cost-effective than risking having to pay out of pocket for medical bills and repair bills from an accident that wasn’t your fault.  

How To File A Claim

If you are unfortunately involved in an accident with a driver that is uninsured or doesn’t have sufficient insurance, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company.  Your insurance company is likely to be just as hard to work with as an insurance company for the other driver if they had insurance.  Insurance companies work very hard not to pay claims or minimize the amount they pay, so if you been injured in an auto accident in Texas or elsewhere in the United States, retaining a lawyer to handle the claim is likely the best move to make. An experienced lawyer  will know how to get a fair settlement from difficult insurance companies.  A lawyer is often necessary to maximize your claim if you have be injured in a car collision. 

You Can’t Have Too Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Texas

Whether uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is mandatory in your state, it is sensible to add it to your policy wherever possible.  This is particularly true in Texas where thousands of unisured drivers are on the roads. The cost of getting extra coverage for unisured motorists is a good measure to help you avoid losses that uninsured drivers too often cause when they break Texas laws and drive without coverage. The more coverage you add to your insurance policy, the more protection you will have if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. In the end this could save you from having to pay thousands of dollars to cover damages that were not your fault. And it could also impact the level and quality of medical  care you  receive and your well-being.

Don’t Wait to Get Proper Coverage

Remember: most auto insurance policies will let you add or increase coverage at any time. So, if you aren’t sure about your coverage, call or contact your auto insurance company to find out how much uninsured protection you have. Uninsured motorist coverage could make make a future accident much less problematic and save you thousands of dollars in losses for a relatively inexpensive  type of coverage.

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