Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2021

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Things to Remember

  • 22 states require uninsured motorist coverage.
  • 14 states require underinsured motorist coverage.
  • UM/UIM help pay for medical bills in situations where you get into a collision with an individual who has either no insurance or not enough insurance.

We understand that the ins and outs of the insurance industry can be a bit confusing. We will go through Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) step-by-step so you can decide if these coverages are right for you.

You may be required to have one or both in your state, as auto insurance laws vary. In other states, these are optional coverages.

Get a good start on finding competitive uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage rates by typing your ZIP code into our helpful tool above.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Let’s start with an uninsured/underinsurance motorist insurance definition. What is the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage? This insurance covers your medical bills should you get into an accident with someone who carries no insurance at all.

Underinsured motorist coverage assists in paying your medical bills when the other individual involved in the accident has coverage that does not offer total financial protection.

Does uninsured motorist cover an underinsured motorist claim? No, they are different coverages.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are designed to help you in difficult situations. But, do you have to get these forms of coverage?

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Do all states require UM and UIM?

In most states, liability coverage is the only required form of insurance (feel free to read our helpful guide that answers the question “What is liability auto insurance coverage?”). According to the Insurance Information Institute, Uninsured Motorist Coverage is only required in 22 states/territories. These states are:

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Fewer than half of the states in the country require uninsured motorist coverage. Wondering how many drivers don’t have auto insurance?

There are a lot of uninsured motorists out there. Take a look at the numbers by state below.

Uninsured Motorists by State
RankStateUninsured Motorists
1Florida26.70%
2Mississippi23.70%
3New Mexico20.80%
4Michigan20.30%
5Tennessee20%
6Alabama18.40%
7Washington17.40%
8Indiana16.70%
9Arkansas16.60%
10D.C.15.60%
11Alaska15.40%
12California15.20%
13Rhode Island15.20%
14New Jersey14.90%
15Wisconsin14.30%
16Texas14.10%
17Missouri14%
18Illinois13.70%
19Colorado13.30%
20Louisiana13%
21Oregon12.70%
22Ohio12.40%
23Maryland12.40%
24Arizona12%
25Georgia12%
26Kentucky11.50%
27Minnesota11.50%
28Delaware11.40%
29Nevada10.60%
30Hawaii10.60%
31Oklahoma10.50%
32West Virginia10.10%
33Montana9.90%
34Virginia9.90%
35New Hampshire9.90%
36Connecticut9.40%
37South Carolina9.40%
38Iowa8.70%
39Utah8.20%
40Idaho8.20%
41Wyoming7.80%
42South Dakota7.70%
43Pennsylvania7.60%
44Kansas7.20%
45North Dakota6.80%
46Nebraska6.80%
47Vermont6.80%
48North Carolina6.50%
49Massachusetts6.20%
50New York6.10%
51Maine4.50%
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There are also 14 states that require underinsured motorist coverage. These states are:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If you feel like being struck by an underinsured motorist is likely, it may well be worth it to purchase this coverage.

What happens if you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist and don’t have coverage, your only recourse is to sue the other driver. Unfortunately, a person that doesn’t have insurance may not have much in the way of funds to pay out on a lawsuit.

So what is a good amount of uninsured motorist coverage? In most cases, people buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in the same amount as their liability limits, and in some states there is a legal minimum. You may carry additional uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage on an umbrella policy.

You can get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from any company, and in some states they are required to offer it and you must decline in writing.

Get a great start on finding affordable uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in your area by typing your ZIP code into our helpful tool below. You can compare uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage quotes for free.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)

#1 – Do you need uninsured motorist coverage if you have health insurance?

The point of uninsured motorist coverage is to pay your medical bills after a car accident with someone who is uninsured. If you have good health insurance, you most likely do not need UM coverage.

#2 – Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in California? What about Texas, Michigan, or Colorado?

No. Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage is optional in all of these states. See above for a list of states where it is required.

#3 – How many people have no health insurance in 2020?

As of 2020, there are 27 million Americans without health insurance.

#4 – What factors affect your auto insurance premium?

Insurers look at many factors to determine your insurance rates, such as your age, driving history, coverage amount, and safety features in your vehicle.

References:

  1. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-compulsory-auto-uninsured-motorists