Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Written by Shuman Roy
Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Insurance Q&A: “Do I need uninsured motorist coverage?”

Uninsured motorist coverage, as well as, underinsured motorist coverage are available in most states at the moment.

While this coverage is not mandatory in every state, auto insurance companies typically have to offer it and it is highly recommended you purchase it in an amount equal to your liability limits.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Has to Be Offered to You

If you don’t want it, you have to specifically sign a rejection form stating it was offered to you and that you declined it.

Doing so protects the insurance company and the insurance agent.

This procedure is necessary because consumers often reject uninsured motorist insurance policies for a variety of reasons.

Many believe they don’t need it, don’t want to pay extra for it because it isn’t mandatory, or simply don’t understand it.

Then there’s the odd chance the agent doesn’t mention it in order to offer a cheaper rate than the next guy.

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Why You May Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage

But the problems begin when an accident occurs, and the at fault party leaves the scene (hit-and-run), doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have high enough liability limits to pay for the damages they caused.

In these cases, you may be left footing the bill. People typically cry foul at this point and blame the agent for not offering uninsured motorist coverage or explaining it in a manner that made its purchase seem necessary.

Recently I was involved in a hit-and-run situation and realized I was much better off for having the coverage…and here’s why.

My car was damaged while I was at a friend’s house for dinner. We didn’t notice it until after the guilty party had left the scene.

As typical when a car accident occurs, we immediately called the police to fill out an accident report.

The claim process started and the uninsured motorist property damage was set to be covered by my “collision” coverage as part of my overall physical damage coverage.

Of course, the claim triggered my “collision” deductible of $500 and was going to be counted as a not-at-fault claim by my insurer, which inevitably would raise my rates (even though the accident was not my fault!!!).

What If I Didn’t Have Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Without physical damage coverage, I would have been out of luck completely and would have had to pay for the whole thing out of my own pocket, which makes the case for that auto insurance coverage separate from uninsured motorist coverage.

Here is where the beauty of uninsured motorist coverage comes into play.

Since I had the coverage and filed the police report showing the damage was the result of a hit-and-run accident and not the at-fault driver, my uninsured motorist coverage was triggered rather than my ‘OTC.”

The insurance company started the claim with “OTC” because the police report was not made available to them yet (it takes about three days to be filed).

Importantly, uninsured motorist coverage works differently than “OTC” in the following ways:

First, my deductible was reduced to $250, saving me $250 right off the top.

Second, since the damage was not caused by me since I was not the at-fault driver (per the police report), it will not be counted against me in the form of an additional premium when my policy renews.

Finally, the amount of money my insurance company covered for my rental car was increased as well, again, because I was not the at-fault driver that caused the damage.

This is a prime example, as with all auto insurance coverage, of why it’s a good idea to have as much coverage as possible.

Without uninsured motorist coverage, I would have been on the hook for more than twice what I ended up paying.

Remember this the next time anyone tries to tell you uninsured motorist coverage is unnecessary if you have physical damage coverage on your vehicle.

You never know when you will come out of the grocery store to find your door smashed in and no note left on your windshield.