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  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protect you if someone without adequate car insurance hits you.
  • This coverage falls under liability insurance, which also covers damage you cause to other vehicles or drivers.
  • Liability insurance is required by law, but only some states require uninsured motorist coverage.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best car insurance companies.

Car insurance is required by state law, unlike homeowners insurance. But according to Michael Dietry, assistant vice president of personal line products and services at Dairyland Insurance, in 2017, 13% of motorists (or 1 in 7 drivers) were uninsured.

There are four main types of car insurancecomprehensivecollision, and liability. Full coverage is a combination of the three. To protect yourself from uninsured drivers, some states require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which falls under liability car insurance

What is uninsured and underinsured liability car insurance?

Liability insurance covers damage you cause to the other vehicle, driver, and its passengers. It also includes uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage —  to protect you when an at-fault driver with no coverage or not enough coverage hits you .

Dietry said uninsured and underinsured coverage is required in 22 states, but if you have full coverage car insurance you can reject uninsured and underinsured coverage. Minimum coverage requirements for liability insurance vary by state.

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Types of liability coverageDefinition
Bodily injury (BI)Injury you cause to others, includes medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses
Property damage (PD)Damage you cause to others’ vehicle or property
Uninsured motorist (UM)Protects you when an at-fault driver hits you with no insurance
Underinsured motorist (UIM)Protects you when an at-fault driver hits you with not enough coverage

What does uninsured and underinsured insurance cover?

Uninsured and underinsured liability insurance covers damage to you or your vehicle caused by someone who doesn’t have insurance, or who doesn’t have enough insurance.

DamageComprehensiveCollisionLiability*Full
TheftYesNoNoYes
VandalismYesNoNoYes
FireYesNoNoYes
Natural disasterYesNoNoYes
Falling objects (tree)YesNoNoYes
Animal damageYesNoNoYes
Collision/accidentNoYesNoYes
RolloverNoYesNoYes
Bodily injury/medical billsNoNoYesYes
Physical damageNoNoYesYes
Property damageNoNoYesYes
Uninsured motoristNoNoYesYes

*Most states require some type of liability coverage

Comprehensive car insurance coverage replaces or repairs your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged. Comprehensive coverage typically covers damage from fire, vandalism, or falling objects like a tree or hail. 

Collision insurance covers accidents and collisions. If you lease or finance your vehicle, your lender may require both comprehensive and collision coverage.

Who needs uninsured and underinsured liability insurance?

Below is a list of states that require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Coverage minimums are listed with numbers and slashes. For example, a 50/100/50 policy would cover up to $50,000 of injury protection for each person involved in an accident, up to $100,000 worth of injuries per incident, and up to $50,000 of property damages per incident. 

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StateCoverageMinimum coverage
Connecticut Uninsured/Underinsured25/50/20
D.C.Uninsured25/50/10
Illinois Uninsured/Underinsured25/50/20
Kentucky Uninsured/Underinsured25/50/25
MaineUninsured/Underinsured50/100/25
Maryland Uninsured/Underinsured30/60/15
Minnesota Uninsured/Underinsured30/60/10
Missouri Uninsured25/50/25
NebraskaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/25
New Jersey Uninsured/Underinsured15/30/5
New York Uninsured/Underinsured25/50/10
North CarolinaUninsured/Underinsured30/60/25
North DakotaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/25
OregonUninsured/Underinsured25/50/20
South CarolinaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/25
South DakotaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/25
VermontUninsured/Underinsured25/50/10
VirginiaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/20
West VirginiaUninsured/Underinsured25/50/25

How much does uninsured motorist insurance cost?

The cost of liability coverage varies depending on your state, as some states require more coverage than others. Dietry said uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is more expensive in states with high uninsured rates.

Remember, your average cost will vary based on the type of vehicle, your location, mileage, and driving record. The  table below shows the average annual liability insurance cost by state, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

StateLiability
Alabama$511.13
Alaska$576.09
Arizona$646.75
Arkansas$486.72
California$616.51
Colorado$687.40
Connecticut$784.70
Delaware$900.32
D.C.$809.41
Florida$1,009.94