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No, you should not reject uninsured motorist coverage unless you have collision insurance and enough medical coverage to pay for your expenses after an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Drivers can reject uninsured motorist coverage in states where it is optional but still has to be offered by insurance companies. For instance, drivers in California, Florida, and Texas can legally reject uninsured motorist coverage. In 21 other states, including New York and Illinois, uninsured motorist coverage is required, so drivers cannot reject it.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is still a good investment even if it’s not mandatory in your state. The price of UM varies based on each driver’s risk factors, but it averages around $50-$75 annually. Given that an estimated 1 in 8 drivers in the U.S. is uninsured, this coverage is an inexpensive way to protect yourself financially.
Uninsured motorist insurance is divided into two categories, bodily injury and property damage. Both kinds of UM insurance are designed to replace the liability coverage that an at-fault driver should have purchased. Covered drivers can file a claim with their own policy if they are in a crash caused by someone without liability insurance. Depending on the state and the policy, drivers might also purchase underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which can be used when the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is insufficient.
What Happens If You Reject Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you reject uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to use another type of coverage or pay out of pocket in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver. If you already have collision insurance and medical coverage of some sort, rejecting uninsured motorist coverage might be a good way to lower your premium. Otherwise, paying for uninsured motorist coverage is generally an inexpensive way to add extra protection.
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage is advisable for drivers who do not have personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay insurance with high limits. PIP and MedPay cover medical expenses regardless of fault, so drivers with plenty of PIP or MedPay might not need UMBI.
However, keep in mind that the average uninsured motorist bodily injury claim was $32,337 in 2016, the latest year with data. So a few thousand dollars of PIP will not cover you for a serious accident with an uninsured driver. Similarly, UMBI requires you to pay fewer out-of-pocket expenses than general health insurance when you need to pay for medical bills after a qualifying accident.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage is only available in some states. UMPD is less important than the bodily injury variation for most drivers, since it overlaps entirely with collision insurance.
The main advantage that UMPD has over collision insurance is that it usually has lower premiums, since it covers fewer situations. UMPD could also be a worthwhile purchase if you don’t want your collision premium to increase in the event of a claim after an accident with an uninsured driver.
For more information and to see if UM is required in your state, check out WalletHub’s guide to uninsured motorist coverage.
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