Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

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Does your current car insurance cover these collisions?

One of every eight drivers are uninsured1, which is why Mercury recommends that you check your auto insurance policy for "Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist" coverage. Uninsured motorists do not have auto insurance for the vehicles they are driving, which is against the law in every state except New Hampshire. Uninsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverage is a common policy option. Underinsured motorists have liability protection, but their limits are less than the dollar amount it would take to pay for bodily injury that result from an accident. Underinsured coverage may not be available in all states or may be limited to bodily injury only; be sure to check with your agent.

You should always make sure you have the proper coverage that you need in case you are ever in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured negligent driver. Auto insurance policies specifically ask if you would like uninsured motorist protection. Typically, coverage is segmented into two categories - uninsured motorist bodily injury (seen on the policy as "UMBI", "UM" or "U") and uninsured motorist property damage (displayed on the policy as UMPD). The uninsured and/or underinsured coverage options are governed by state law and may differ depending upon your state so be sure to check with your agent. These points can be summarized as:

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury. Pays for reasonable medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of earnings for injuries to the driver and passengers that result from the accident.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage. Pays for repairs to your car when the loss is caused by an uninsured motorist. In many cases, uninsured motorist property damage has a limit, so purchasing collision coverage ensures your car is fully repaired or replaced due to serious damage.
  • Collision deductible waiver. When you purchase uninsured motorist property damage in conjunction with collision coverage, your uninsured motorist property damage coverage is referred to as collision deductible waiver and displayed on your policy as "CDW". Collision coverage will pay for the damage to your vehicle (less the amount of your deductible), and when the loss is caused by an uninsured motorist, your collision deductible waiver coverage will reimburse or waive the deductible payment.
  • Underinsured property damage protection. When the other driver does have insurance, but with coverage limits less than the damage to your car, underinsured property damage protection can make up the difference. Some states may not offer this coverage.

For uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to apply, insurance companies usually need to verify the identity of the driver involved and/or the vehicle involved (vehicle license plate) to determine whether they're uninsured or underinsured. It is important to know that uninsured coverage may not include hit-and-run accidents, or that coverage may require a prompt police report or other requirements. Be sure to discuss options with your agent and check your policy provisions.

When the other party's information is not available, or in the case of a viable hit and run claim, only collision coverage would guarantee the insured vehicle damages would be repaired and the insured would still be responsible to pay the associated deductible.

How much auto insurance coverage do you need for uninsured or underinsured encounters? Mercury recommends that uninsured and underinsured coverage match the policy’s current bodily injury liability limits and deductible.

1According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC).

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