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So Many Uninsured Autos
Even with state motor vehicle departments trying their best to ensure all registered autos have insurance, some drivers do seem to slip through loopholes or avoid purchasing insurance at all. Some states only require minimum amounts of insurance that doesn’t include uninsured motorist insurance. To find out what is required in your state, visit the Auto Insurance Finder website, call your state’s insurance board, or contact your motor vehicle department.
With accidents always on the rise, the need for uninsured motorist coverage is a must and should be a part of your current auto insurance policy. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, how do you get help for uninsured auto crashes?
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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Getting help for uninsured autos is easy if you have what the industry calls uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM or UIM). According to Insurance.com, a multiple online insurance company quoting service, UM and UIM will protect “you and your passengers, and in some locations, damages to your property, when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered uninsured or underinsured.” Damage to your vehicle by a hit and run driver is also covered by UM or UIM auto insurance.
Underinsured auto insurance is much the same as uninsured except that it generally refers to those drivers whose auto insurance policies only meet state minimum requirements that don’t carry high enough limits to cover damages to other vehicles or property.
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Why Doesn’t Everyone Have UM or UIM?
Unfortunately, not all states require UM or UIM as part of the required minimum amount of auto insurance drivers must obtain for their vehicles. Because it’s not required in all states, most auto insurance brokers and agents recommend upfront that you obtain this coverage in case a driver who is uninsured or underinsured hits you in an accident. It's also a good idea to have this coverage if you have a teen driver.
The cost of UM or UIM is usually small to add to your current auto policy and varies by company and insurance state regulations, however, think what would happen if you didn’t have it. The out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses, wages lost and even pain and suffering allowances would come from your own financial savings or cost.
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How It Works and Where to Get UM or UIM
If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM or UIM auto insurance acts as a supplement to both yours and the other driver’s current policy limits. Once current limits are exhausted for repairs, medical expenses, and property damage, the UM or UIM kicks in to cover the rest.
To get help for uninsured autos, call your auto insurance agent to find out first if you already have the coverage or read your current policy. If you don’t have UM or UIM coverage, ask the broker to offer you a quote on how much your current policy would increase once you obtain the coverage.
Keep in mind that if you finance a new or used vehicle, meaning you have a lienholder, some financial institutions require UM or UIM to protect their interest in the vehicle. This often depends upon the current coverage you have, which the financial institution will review prior to requesting UN or UIM coverage.
Finally, to ensure you’re safe in case you need help for uninsured autos, find out if your state even requires UM or UIM. Even if it doesn’t, it’s best to obtain the coverage because it’s affordable and can save you from spending personal money in case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
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- Motor Trend (5/22/10) - http://www.motortrend.com/features/newswire/44919/index.html
- Insurance.com (5/22/10) - http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/explained/why-you-need-uninsuredunderinsured-motorist-coverage.aspx
- Two Cars in a Lateral Collision / Wikimedia Commons
- Crutches / Wikimedia Commons