Question: Is it necessary to have uninsured motorist coverage if I have bodily injury liability coverage of $250,000/$500,000?
Answer: Comparing uninsured motorist and bodily injury liability to each other is like comparing apples to oranges. They don’t cover the same thing, so your needs for each coverage should be looked at separately.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) insurance provides coverage for injuries you sustain due to an at-fault uninsured driver. Bodily injury liability (BI) insurance covers people outside of your vehicle for injuries that you caused during an at-fault car accident.
Having bodily injury liability limits of 250/500 is good coverage. This means that if you are at fault in an accident, your insurance will pay up to $250,000 per person and up to $500,000 per accident for the medical expenses of those you injured.
The more bodily injury liability coverage you carry, the less risk you have that your limits will be exceeded and you will be left personally responsible to pay for the injuries you’ve caused others.
But bodily injury liability insurance doesn’t cover your own injuries in any way if you are hurt in a car accident. For your own injuries, there are car insurance coverages such as personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay) that pay for your medical expenses, without regard to fault.
There also is underinsured motorist bodily injury that pays out if the at-fault driver is insured but has limits that are too low to cover all of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist covers instances when the other driver is at-fault and completely uninsured.
Some states require that you carry uninsured motorist coverage; others only require it to be offered.
If you have adequate health insurance that will cover injuries you sustain in an auto accident, then UMBI may not be necessary.
If you don’t have health insurance, your health insurer doesn’t cover car accident injuries, or you want compensation for pain and suffering that health insurance won’t cover, then UMBI should be considered.
If you're still on the fence, a good first step toward a decision is to get car insurance quotes with and without coverage to see how much your annual premium rises.