Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if an uninsured driver hits you. This is important considering that about 1 in 8 drivers isn’t insured, according to the Insurance Research Council. And, depending on the state you live in, that number could be much higher. Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, but limits and requirements vary.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

There is also related coverage, called underinsured motorist coverage, which protects you from other drivers who have insurance but not enough to pay for your injuries or car repairs. It is also broken into two categories:

How much coverage do I need?

Some states require drivers to buy uninsured motorist coverage, and in others, it isn’t available. In states where coverage is available, uninsured motorist bodily injury protection and uninsured motorist property damage protection can be sold separately or bundled together. It also can be bundled with underinsured motorist coverage.

Which states require uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage?

Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin require coverage. New Hampshire does not require auto insurance, but if you buy a policy, as most residents do, it must include uninsured motorist coverage. In most other states, coverage must be offered to all policyholders.

Which states require uninsured motorist property damage coverage?

Mandatory: District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Optional: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio and Utah.

How do coverage limits work for uninsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is usually sold in amounts that mirror the liability insurance you bought. For example, if you purchased a policy with $50,000 per person bodily injury liability coverage, up to $100,000 per accident, you would buy UM coverage in the same amounts.

If you buy less than what you carry as liability coverage, an insurer typically will require you to sign a waiver noting that you were offered the higher amount. Liability insurance is mandatory in all states except New Hampshire, and each state sets its minimum liability requirements.

How much does uninsured motorist coverage cost?

Below, you’ll see the average yearly rate for uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI), uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), underinsured motorist bodily injury (UIMBI) and underinsured motorist property damage (UIMPD), based on CarInsurance.com’s rate analysis.

We looked at costs for two coverage sets for 10 ZIP codes in each state, from up to six major insurers, for a driver age 35 with good credit and a clean driving record. The first coverage set is for liability limits that pay up to $50,000 for those you injure, up to $100,000 per accident, with up to $50,000 for damages you cause to other property and vehicles.

The second coverage set is full coverage, with higher liability amounts and the optional comprehensive and collision coverages, carrying a $500 deductible.

Rates for uninsured motorist coverage with liability-only and full coverage
50/100/50 liability only$33$21$15$9
Full coverage with limits of 100/300/100$71$19$45$13

While uninsured motorist coverage is relatively affordable, the cost varies among states. Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington state have the most uninsured motorists, according to 2019 data from the Insurance Research Council. New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York have the fewest uninsured drivers.

How much does uninsured motorist coverage cost in each state?

Average annual cost of uninsured motorist coverage, by state
State Average price of uninsured motorist coverage

FAQ: Do I need uninsured motorist coverage?

If I have personal injury protection, do I need uninsured motorist insurance?

Probably. In no-fault states such as Florida, motorists must buy personal injury protection (PIP) to ensure that all drivers have access to emergency treatment, regardless of who is to blame for the accident. But the limits on that personal injury coverage are usually very low.

I have health insurance; do I need uninsured motorist coverage?

To determine if you need UM coverage when you already have health insurance coverage, you’ll need to get answers from your health insurer on some issues, such as:

  • Will my health insurance policy cover injuries from an auto accident? If yes, are all medical expenses covered or are there exclusions for certain medical treatments?
  • If my car insurance policy’s medical coverage has a deductible, will my health insurance policy pay it? You want to know if your health policy will cover your PIP deductible or if your health insurer will cover the portion of medical expenses your PIP doesn’t cover.
  • Is my auto medical coverage or health insurance policy primary after an auto accident? In general, your car insurance medical coverages are primary and your health insurance policy is secondary coverage if you carry both and are injured in a car accident.
  • Can my health insurance company ask for reimbursement for medical bills they covered? If your auto insurance provider and health insurer pay out claims for medical expenses that resulted from an auto accident. In that case, it’s possible they could ask for reimbursement if both insurers paid out overlapping payments for the same medical treatments. Ask your insurer about their process to determine if reimbursement would be required.
  • Will my health insurance policy cover passengers injured in my vehicle? It’s doubtful that health insurance would cover passengers unless they are members of your family already on your health policy. If you want medical coverage for passengers, you need medical payments coverage or PIP as part of your auto insurance policy.

Remember, you’d need UM coverage if you want the right to claim lost wages and pain suffering if hit by an uninsured motorist.

Will uninsured motorist property damage coverage replace my totaled car?

You can use uninsured motorist property damage to cover damage to or total loss of your insured vehicle, up to the limits stated in your policy. That means the actual cash value of your car may not be covered. In some states, the limits may be low. In California, for example, the current limit is $3,500.

If you have collision insurance, you might not need to buy uninsured motorist property damage coverage. In some states, if you carry collision coverage and uninsured motorist property damage, the UMPD will pay your collision deductible if an uninsured driver hits you.

Does uninsured motorist coverage offer protection for hit-and-run and miss-and-run accidents?

Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage will pay for your injuries up to your policy limits in case of a hit-and-run or miss-and-run (where a driver is forced to swerve and has an accident). But uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) does not pay for damage to your car.

To make a property damage claim under your UMPD coverage, you need an identified at-fault driver so your insurance company can confirm that he or she does not have liability insurance.

If you have collision insurance, on the other hand, you are covered for property damage from hit-and-run and miss-and-run accidents.

What is stacked uninsured motorist coverage?

“Stacked” coverage increases the limits on your uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage if you have multiple cars. Your UM limits typically cannot be higher than those on your liability coverage, but if you have two cars and stack your limits, your coverage is effectively doubled. It is cheaper to get more protection against uninsured motorists without buying higher liability limits for yourself. Stacking will increase your premium, but not by as much as higher liability limits would. Not all states allow stacked coverage.

How many uninsured drivers are there nationwide?

To underscore the importance of uninsured motorist coverage, consider that about one in eight drivers on the road in 2019 was uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The national uninsured motorist rate is 12.6%, but varies dramatically by state. New Jersey had the lowest uninsured motorist rate (3.1%) and Mississippi had the highest (29.4%).

The nationwide uninsured motorist rate increased only 1.2 percentage points from 2015 to 2019, but some states had significantly higher increases: 

  • Washington: 6.9 percentage points
  • Rhode Island: 6.8 percentage points
  • Mississippi: 6.4 percentage points

States that experienced decreases in uninsured motorist rates include:

  • Michigan: 10.1 percentage points
  • Delaware: 2.9 percentage points
Rank State Uninsured %
4New Mexico21.8%
9District of Columbia19.1%
11Rhode Island16.5%
22North Dakota13.0%
29South Carolina10.9%
36West Virginia9.2%
41South Dakota7.4%
42North Carolina7.4%
45New Hampshire6.1%
49New York4.1%
51New Jersey3.1%
National   average12.6%

How uninsured drivers increase costs for everyone

The Insurance Research Council estimates that insured drivers paid approximately $78 per insured vehicle in 2016 for insurance protection against uninsured or underinsured drivers — more than $13 billion for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. 

“Uninsured drivers increase the cost of insurance for those who comply with their state’s insurance requirements, and that’s not fair,” says David Corum, vice president of the IRC. “Keeping auto insurance affordable is more difficult when a significant number of drivers refuse to carry their fair share of the costs.”

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.


Insurance Information Institute. “Facts + Statistics: Uninsured motorists.” Accessed February 2023.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.