Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
You understand the importance of car insurance. Sure, almost every state requires at least some type of legal requirement to have car insurance – but that's not why you're insured.
You're insured because having car insurance is the right thing to do. It's the smart financial move. It's the best way to protect your property, personal health and the health of everyone else in your car.
Share the Road
Unfortunately, not everyone else on the road feels the same way. Some people don't buy any insurance at all.
Now, don't get us wrong. We're not saying uninsured drivers are evil people. Some people can't afford car insurance.
Unfortunately, if an uninsured person chooses to drive and then gets into a car accident, everyone else has to suffer financially and sometimes even physically.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage to the Rescue
What if you're in an accident, and you're not at fault? What if the person who is at fault doesn't have insurance?
Well, contrary to what you may have seen on Seinfeld, the uninsured person is not then ordered by the court to be your butler.
To be honest, nothing really great is going to happen to the uninsured person. They'll be fined and, depending on their past history and current situation, they might even go to jail.
You could sue the person, and you might even win. But if the at fault party doesn't have any money, all the lawsuits in the world aren't going to pay your medical bills or repair your damaged car.
In a perfect world, everyone would be a responsible, insured driver. We don't live in a perfect world, however, which is why people buy uninsured and underinsured motorist policies.
Who Benefits from Uninsured Motorist Insurance?
· People who live in parts of the country with high rates of uninsured drivers.
· People in states with very low legal liability coverage minimums.
· People who live in areas with a lot of hit-and-runs.
Nobody really wants to think they live around a lot of people who will leave the scene of an accident, but you're better off learning if that's the case from a Google search instead of finding out the hard way on the road. A simple search for "uninsured rates" in your town should give you a good idea of how safe you are.
Two Facts You Might Not Know about Uninsured Motorist Insurance:
1. Pedestrians are Covered
If you have an uninsured motorist policy and you're hit by a car while walking or riding a bicycle, that policy can actually cover your medical injuries.
2. Underinsured Drivers are Covered, Too
Each state sets their own minimums on the amount of liability coverage their drivers require. Some states set their limits pretty low.
Imagine this scenario. You're T-boned by someone who was running a red light. Everyone's okay, but your brand new car is totaled. You're looking at a loss of about $36,000, which is the current value of your car.
The guy who hit you, however, has an old, rundown hatchback worth about $3,000.
You both only have liability coverage. The problem is, you have a lot more coverage than the other guy. Your policy covers damages of up to $7,000. His policy covers damages up to $5,000.
Once all the insurance settlement dust has, well, settled, that guy's walking away with a check to cover all of his losses. You, on the other hand, only got $5,000, which isn't even one-seventh of your car's value.
An Underinsured Policy will help make up the monetary difference. According to a study conducted by AAA, the average car accident with injuries costs about $68,000. Often, the state minimum is only going to cover a fraction of that.
The Two Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage:
· Bodily Injury – Protects you from medical expenses, including long-term expenses such as time away from work and rehabilitation services
· Property Damage – Protects your car from repair and even replacement expenses.
You can choose one type of converge or combine them together for complete protection. With both, you can handle whatever craziness uninsured drivers out there can throw at you!
(Well, you still want to be careful on the road. We just want to illustrate how both types of coverage is really the most protection you can buy against uninsured drivers.)
Determining Your Insurance Rates
If you starting searching for coverage, you'll quickly notice that prices can be all over the place. This is because uninsured coverage is based on a few different factors.
First, there's a lot of the traditional factors used to determine anybody's accident risk level. These are your age, your driving record, the make and model of your car, and so on.
Then there are some unique factors. These include the average amount of driving you do each day, and the approximate number of uninsured drivers in your area.
If you live in a place with a lot of uninsured drivers, your uninsured motorist premiums will be higher than if you live in, say, an empty, rural area (where we assume there aren't a lot of traffic accidents in general).
This might not seem fair, but think about it this way: Your chances of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver are pretty high, but insurance coverage can work to decrease the property and medical costs substantially if anything does happen.
Finding the Cheapest Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Coverage
The best way to find the lowest rates from the best insurance companies is to use a professional network of insurance agents such as the ones at Chimp Quote. They're able to quickly scan hundreds of companies to find you the best price with the most discounts based on your car, location and other factors.
At the end of the day, you can't control the actions of everyone else on the road. Even the law isn't enough to compel some people to not drive around uninsured. What you can control, however, is your insurance destiny. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is usually the best way to protect yourself from someone else's carelessness.