Uninsured, Underinsured Motorists Coverage Is Required In Many States. Twenty states plus the District of Columbia require vehicle owners to purchase uninsured, underinsured motorists coverage to protect against the possibility of suffering injuries or property damage caused by a driver who either has nor car insurance coverage or has too little to pay the costs of medical payments or repairs or replacement of damaged or destroyed property.
Insured drivers might not have enough coverage to pay costs
Although every state requires motorists to have at least some mandated level of liability insurance coverage to protect other people who might suffer injuries or property losses caused by others, in some states, that liability protection can be as little as $5,000 for injuries to a single person, $10,000 total for injuries to all people in an accident and as little as $5,000 in property damages. That means even if motorists have state minimums in place and are driving legally, there still is a great potential for costs exceeding coverage limits if responsible for accidents causing injuries or damages.
Medical costs easily can exceed state minimum liability insurance coverage limits, so, too, can the cost of property damage to others. When as little as $5,000 is carried on a liability insurance plan for property damage to others, that amount can be surpassed by the cost of repairs or replacing damaged vehicles of from losing control and running into a home, business or other property, causing a great deal of damage and possibly displacing the homeowners or other property owners for a period of time
States mandating uninsured, under-insured motorists coverage are:
• In the East, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington D.C.
• In or near the Central United States, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
• Oregon is the only state in the West requiring the coverages.
Number of uninsured drivers keep rising
The number of uninsured drivers has risen sharply in recent years with some states reporting more than 25 percent of vehicles traveling the roadways have no insurance coverage at all. That means a lot of people are at risk if they suffer a loss while involved in an accident with a driver who illegally is operating a vehicle with no insurance coverage, which is why nearly half of all states require drivers to also have coverage to protect against uninsured motorists who are driving illegally.
Even insured drivers can be declared ‘uninsured’
If a hit-and-run driver causes and accident and cannot be found, there is no insurance policy to be used in such cases, so uninsured motorist coverage would apply. For example, if a car is struck in a parking lot and the offender took off without reporting it and no longer could be located, for insurance purposes, the unidentified driver would be declared to be uninsured. And if an uninsured driver should strike a pedestrian or perhaps lose control and run into a home or other type of property, resulting in a great deal of damage, the uninsured motorist coverage would provide financial relief to the victims.