Do I Really Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

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Car accidents are stressful events. On top of worrying whether you’ve sustained any physical injuries or damage to your vehicle, you shouldn’t have to wonder if your insurance coverage will be sufficient. You likely have auto insurance, but did you know that uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage may be a worthwhile addition to your policy, even if it’s not required in your state

What Is UM/UIM Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection for the cost of injuries or damage you experience in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. What might it cost you if an uninsured motorist hit your car and you didn’t have UM/UIM coverage? In 2013 the average collision claim was for $3,144, and the average bodily injury liability claim was for $15,443.

But Isn’t Everyone Required to Have Insurance?

Most people do have insurance. But about one in eight drivers hit the road with less-than-adequate auto insurance coverage.

What’s more, some people who do have auto insurance are underinsured, which means that their current policy may not cover all of the potential liability costs they may incur. This is where your UM/UIM coverage comes in.

Why Should I Have UM/UIM Coverage?

A driver runs a red light and hits your car, causing $10,000 in damages to your vehicle and forcing you to miss work with an aching back. But he’s uninsured. Who pays for your losses? Without UM/UIM coverage, your only options may be to pay out of your own pocket or to attempt to sue the other driver, assuming you collected their contact information.

UM/UIM may cover you in this situation—but only if you purchased your policy before the accident. You won’t be able to get insurance that will cover damages you’ve already experienced.

How Do I Purchase UM/UIM Coverage?

Nearly half of states require drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage. But many states leave the decision to the individual to purchase it. If you’re concerned about uninsured or underinsured motorists leaving you with the bill, talk to an independent insurance agent who can help you minimize the impact of other drivers.

You may be able to buy the coverage separately, or it may be added to or bundled with your existing auto insurance policy. To find out what’s available in your state and discuss policy options, call an agent at Insurance.safeco.com. We are licensed agents appointed to sell policies for Safeco Insurance®.