Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of automobile insurance. It is insurance that you buy yourself. It pays you money if you are involved in an auto accident that is another driver’s fault and that other driver does not have insurance. Sometimes it is called UM coverage for short.

Here’s an example of how it works.

You get t-boned by Bob when Bob runs a red light. In the accident, your vehicle is damaged and you are physically injured. You go to the doctor and get treated. Because your injuries are serious, your total medical bills come to $14,000 and you lose $2,500 in wages.

Your own insurance will pay the first $3,000 in medical bills using the benefits you purchased in your PIP coverage. Your PIP coverage will pay a portion of your lost income. Bob is personally liable for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, Bob has no insurance and he is a dead beat. He cannot pay. At that point, you turn to your own insurance company and make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits.

Your own insurance company will start acting as though it insured Bob. It will pay the remaining $11,000 in medical bills, the remaining lost income and all of your pain and suffering.

There are a few extra things you should know:

  • Because your own insurance company starts acting like it insures Bob, your own insurance company may start acting in an adversarial way toward you. It may start calling you a faker, claiming you aren’t really that injured.
  • UM coverage is not required in Utah. However, to waive it, the insurance company must tell you in writing why you should get it and then have you waive the coverage in writing. This is rarely done. Most people in Utah have this coverage.
  • This explanation applies only to Utah. In some other States, UM coverage may vary.
  • Because uninsured motorist coverage pays when there is no other insurance coverage to go after, make sure you don’t skimp on it when you buy it. It isn’t that expensive and when you need it, you’ll be glad you didn’t skimp.