Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist insurance protects your small business from having to bear the brunt of the financial impact should you have a close encounter with an uninsured driver.
With one in every eight drivers uninsured, there is a chance that you can get into an accident with an uninsured motorist while driving your work vehicle.1 Having uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you get into a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
It’s no fun finding out the other motorist didn’t hold up their end of the deal with proper insurance coverage. But, with uninsured motorist insurance, you can protect your small business from having to bear the brunt of the financial impact should you have a way-too-close encounter with an uninsured driver.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers medical and other expenses for you, as the policyholder, if you get into a collision with an at-fault driver who does not have adequate auto liability insurance. (If you are at fault in the accident, uninsured motorist coverage will not apply.)
Most states legally require auto liability insurance coverage that covers third-party property damage and bodily injury when the policyholder is at fault. Unfortunately, that does not stop some people from failing to obtain the proper coverage.2
If you get into an accident with an at-fault uninsured motorist, your uninsured motorist insurance policy will cover your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs.
There are two types of coverage:
Uninsured motorist coverage helps you up to a predetermined limit. The predetermined limit is typically divided into two categories — coverage per person and coverage per accident — and expressed in two numbers. For example, a 20/50 limit translates to $20,000 bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident.
In states where uninsured motorist coverage is required, the predetermined limit typically must at least match the state’s minimum auto liability coverage requirements. In Florida, for example, this can be as low as 10/20, or $10,000 bodily injury coverage per person and $20,000 bodily injury coverage per accident.4
Most states in the U.S. require that uninsured motorist coverage must at least be offered, although many of those states also allow you to reject the coverage in writing. Michigan is the only state with no requirement, but you can still voluntarily purchase coverage.5 In 20 states and the District of Columbia, drivers must have uninsured motorist insurance. Fourteen states also require underinsured motorist coverage.6
Still, not all states offer or require underinsured motorist coverage. If you are required to carry one or the other, it is usually uninsured motorist coverage. Beyond state regulations, some lessors will require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage regardless of state law. Now, we’ll discuss the nuances of uninsured motorist coverage.
You may have heard the term “stacked uninsured motorist coverage.” It refers to applying the total uninsured motorist coverage you carry on multiple vehicles to one insurance claim. This can apply when you have multiple vehicles under one policy or multiple policies under one Named Insured.
Say that your small business owns two vehicles, each with $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. If an uninsured driver hits one of those vehicles, you may be able to combine both policies to receive up to $100,000 in coverage for the incident.
Note that you cannot stack coverage onto your insurance plan after an accident. You must purchase it when you first buy your policy or renew it.
Still unsure whether you need uninsured and underinsured coverage? Let’s explore the difference.
Uninsured motorist coverage acts in the same manner as underinsured motorist insurance. If you get into an accident with an at-fault motorist who has some coverage — but not enough to cover the full costs of the accident — your policy’s coverage for under-insured motorists. Your payout will account for any payout you receive from the other driver’s insurance company. It will pay you any excess due to you (up to the stated limit).
Like a fastidious student who does all parts of a group project behind the scenes just in case their team members don’t follow through with their portion of the work, uninsured motorist coverage is your backup plan.
An alarming number of drivers are not doing their part. While uninsured motorist rates vary from state to state, six states have an estimated uninsured rate above 20 percent, as of 2021:7
If your state requires uninsured motorist coverage, they’ve decided for you. But if not, you will need to weigh the risks to your small business and the potential consequences of foregoing coverage. Here are some questions to consider:
If you are legally allowed to forego uninsured coverage and decide to do so, there are alternative ways to protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured motorists. These are:
Uninsured motorist insurance can come to your rescue should you have a doubly unlucky day and get hit by an uninsured driver. You can get uninsured motorist coverage with either personal auto insurance or commercial auto insurance policies.
At Thimble, we make it easy to get simple, scalable and flexible small business insurance so you can succeed on your terms. Simply click “Get a quote” or download the Thimble mobile app. We’ll ask you a few questions, and we’ll generate an instant quote. Click “purchase,” and you’re covered! It’s a green light for your business.