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Laura Berry

Former Insurance Agent

Former Insurance Agent

Joshua Adamson

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

UPDATED: Nov 29, 2023

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What is uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) Insurance?

Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance covers your bodily injury and property damages if you're in an accident with a driver who is uninsured. Underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) insurance provides coverage for you when you're in a car accident with a driver that doesn't have enough coverage to pay for your bodily injury and property damage expenses.

Did you know a car insurance company provides coverage when an uninsured or underinsured driver causes bodily injury or property damage? Driving uninsured is illegal in most states.

It may appear hopeless to get compensated when an at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance. However, you can get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself from out-of-pocket expenses.

But what is underinsured motorist insurance, and why is it paired with uninsured motorist insurance? Don’t worry — we’re here to answer this and more of your frequently asked questions.

Read through this article to learn how uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage works, what states require UM/UIM coverage, and how much you’ll pay for UM/UIM car insurance.

Ready to shop for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) auto insurance? Enter your ZIP code in the free online quote tool above to compare multiple companies in your area.

How does uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance work?

Before you buy uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance, you should know how it works.

Uninsured motorist auto insurance covers your bodily injury and property damage costs when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.

You can even get coverage for an accident with a hit-and-run driver. But, underinsured motorist auto insurance works differently.

Your underinsured motorist car insurance activates when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your bodily injury and property damage expenses.

Underinsured motorist insurance covers the remaining cost. If you happen to live in a state where UM/UIM auto insurance isn’t required, you can sue the at-fault driver for the remaining expenses.

What are the four types of uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance?

Bodily injury and property damage are part of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance is split into two parts: uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage (often labeled as UMBI and UMPD).

Underinsured motorist insurance has the same parts under its coverage, which are known as underinsured motorist bodily injury and underinsured motorist property damage (UIMBI and UIMPD).

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What states require uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance is required in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Here’s a list of states that have uninsured motorist coverage requirements.

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

Underinsured and uninsured motorist car insurance is not required in New Hampshire. But, if you carry auto insurance in New Hampshire, you’ll need to include UM/UIM insurance coverage.

Uninsured motorist insurance is the coverage that’s required in most states on the list above, but underinsured motorist coverage is optional. However, the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance company may recommend that you get it.

How much are UM/UIM car insurance limits?

UM/UIM coverage limits are the same amount as your liability coverage limits. For example, North Dakota has a minimum liability limit of 25/50/25. If you buy UM/UIM insurance, your limits will be 25/50/25 for UM/UIM.

How much are uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance rates?

It’s tough to pinpoint the exact cost of UM/UIM car insurance. When you get uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance quotes, you’ll see a breakdown of prices.

Since UM/UIM insurance is included in liability coverage, it’s safe to say that UM/UIM is included with liability insurance costs, at least in the states where it’s required.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), liability car insurance is $46 a month. Your rates will vary.

Several factors determine whether affordable uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) car insurance is available to you.

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What does stacking UM/UIM car insurance mean?

Stacking means you have more than one vehicle on your auto insurance policy with UM/UIM insurance coverage. When that happens, your policy limits double.

For instance, if you have $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for UMBI, your UMBI coverage increases to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident when you add another vehicle.

Some of the best car insurance companies have stacking options. You can’t stack your UM/UIM coverage everywhere, so talk to your car insurance company before you add another vehicle to your policy.

Should I buy UM/UIM car insurance coverage?

It depends on the situation. If you live in a state with a high percentage of uninsured drivers, we recommend getting UM/UIM coverage. Check out this list to see the top five states with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers.

  • Mississippi – 29.4%
  • Michigan – 25.5%
  • Tennessee – 23.7%
  • New Mexico – 21.8%
  • Washington – 21.7%

Even if you live in a state where most drivers have auto insurance, it’s better to be prepared for uninsured and underinsured driver accidents. If UM/UIM insurance is optional in your state, consider adding it to your car insurance policy.

How do I make a UM/UIM car insurance claim?

Contact your car insurance company and let them know you were in an accident with a driver that’s uninsured or underinsured. Your UM/UIM coverage ensures that you will receive a payout for bodily injury and property damage.

Before you receive any payouts, your auto insurance company needs a copy of a police report, pictures of your damaged vehicle, photos of bodily injuries, and medical bills.

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Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Car Insurance: What’s the bottom line?

UM/UIM coverage isn’t essential in every state, but it could save you from massive out-of-pocket expenses if you’re ever in an accident. Hopefully, we’ve answered all of your questions about uninsured and underinsured motorist auto insurance.

Now that you know more about uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance, use our free comparison tool below to compare multiple companies near you.

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