Most drivers are responsible and buy auto insurance. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 16.5 percent of drivers in Rhode Island are uninsured. That’s the 11th highest in the nation.
Our rate is also much higher than the countrywide rate of 12.6 percent. This is particularly alarming since we’re such as small state.
Luckily, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help protect you from the costs involved in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver.
How Does Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?
This coverage kicks in when you’re involved in an accident that isn’t your fault. Normally, you’d file a claim with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance compensates you for your expenses.
However, when the other driver has too little or no liability coverage you may not have any way to recoup your losses. Minimum liability insurance requirements seldom provide sufficient coverage after an accident.
If they aren’t insured, your only option is to file a legal claim. Your chances of getting your money are probably pretty slim – if they didn’t have the money needed to buy insurance coverage in the first place, they likely don’t have the money to pay you back, either.
What Does It Cover?
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist insurance offers two coverages: bodily injury and property damage
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI/UIMBI)
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury provides compensation for you and your passengers should you be involved in an accident with an at-fault driver. It can pay medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, uninsured motorist coverage is not required if a Rhode Island driver carries the state minimum limits for bodily injury auto liability coverage. This bodily injury liability coverage is only $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. One can easily see how quickly this coverage would disappear in a serious accident.
Anyone buying a policy with higher limits, must also purchase uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage which also includes underinsured motorist, bodily injury, and property damage coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD/UIMPD)
Uninsured motorist property damage and underinsured motorist property damage coverage applies to your vehicle or any other property damaged in an incident. It pays expenses should the other driver’s policy provide insufficient limits or pay all your expenses if they aren’t insured.
Rhode Island’s minimum property damage liability coverage is only $25,000 per accident. Even repairs on late model vehicles can easily exceed this amount.
Fortunately, uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage can pay for things such as repairs, rental car costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses if other drivers don’t have the coverage they need.
Considering how many people are driving without insurance or low liability limits, it makes sense to protect yourself. Otherwise, you could pay out-of-pocket if you’re in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver.
We recommend a conversation with your insurance agent to determine appropriate coverage limits. A serious accident could lead to hefty medical bills and steep property damage costs unless you’re properly covered. If you’re not sure if you’ve got uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy, give us a call today. We’ll help you get to the bottom of it!