Revealed – US states that require uninsured motorist coverage

Where not mandatory, coverage is still worth considering, experts say

Revealed – US states that require uninsured motorist coverage


By Mark Rosanes

There are approximately 28 million uninsured motorists across the US – a figure that is equivalent to 12.6% of the country’s driving population, according to the latest estimate from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). This means that about one in eight drivers in America takes the road without car insurance, posing a huge risk to other motorists.

Among all states, Mississippi has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers at 29.4%. It is followed by Michigan (25.5%), Tennessee (23.7%), New Mexico (21.8%), and Washington (21.7%). Overall, 22 states posted numbers above the national average, including Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, and California.

“Laws in most states have proven ineffective in reducing the number of drivers who are uninsured,” the Insurance Information Institute (III) explained in a backgrounder about uninsured motorists on its website. “There are many reasons for this. Some drivers cannot afford insurance and some drivers with surcharges for accidents or serious traffic violations do not want to pay the high premiums that result from a poor driving record.

“With the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers in the US close to 13%, it is costly to track down violators of compulsory insurance laws. State insurance departments and insurance companies are using new techniques to combat the uninsured motorist problem, including using electronic means to verify auto insurance quickly.”

Still, the issue persists and because of this, even if uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in all states, it could be worth considering for many of the country’s drivers.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

According to the III, uninsured motorist coverage, also referred to as UM, is designed to provide compensation to policyholders when an at-fault driver does not have liability insurance or illegally leaves the scene of the crash.

The organization added that while this type of policy does not reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road, it does provide a way for drivers to deal with the financial consequences of accidents with hit-and-run or uninsured motorists.  

How does uninsured motorist coverage work?

Generally, when an accident occurs and the other motorist is at-fault, their auto insurance should cover car repair and medical costs incurred by the not-at-fault driver and their passengers. However, if the at-fault motorist does not have coverage and cannot afford to pay up, the other driver may end up footing the bill.

This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes in handy. This kind of policy fills the gap between the costs incurred by the insured driver and the at-fault motorist’s ability to pay.

UM is typically bundled with underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which works almost exactly the same. The only difference is that UIM provides financial protection when the at-fault driver carries insurance, but their coverage is not enough the pay for all expenses.

What does uninsured motorist insurance cover?

Uninsured motorist policies provide two types of protection. These are:

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage: This covers medical bills, costs incurred due to pain and suffering, lost wages, and funeral expenses resulting from a collision with an uninsured at-fault driver. Some policies also cover accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage: This pays out for damages to the policyholder’s vehicle or property after a crash with an at-fault motorist who does not have insurance. Some policies, however, require the insured to pay a deductible amount.

Several states also allow “stacking,” which benefits those who own more than one insured vehicle. This practice gives drivers the option to combine UMBI limits for multiple cars, either in a single policy or across several policies under the insured’s name, raising the overall coverage amount.

“[To illustrate], in a three-car family, where uninsured motorist liability limits are $20,000, in a state that does not prohibit stacking, the amount available to pay a claim in an accident with an uninsured driver would be $60,000,” III explained. “[But] because stacking drives up the cost of auto insurance, about half of the states prohibit stacking.”

Which states require uninsured motorist coverage?

There are more than 20 states in the US where uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory. In others, insurance companies are required to offer UM policies, but purchasing them is not compulsory. Fewer states require drivers to take out underinsured motorist coverage.

Below is the complete list of states that require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, along with the corresponding minimum liability limits.


Coverage required & minimum liability limits


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

District of Columbia

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

UMPD: $5,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident


UMBI: $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident

UMPD: $15,000 per accident


UMBI: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

New Hampshire

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

UMPD: $25,000 per accident

New York

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

North Carolina

UMBI: $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident

UMPD: $25,000 per accident

North Dakota

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

South Carolina

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

UMPD: $25,000 per accident

South Dakota

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident


UMBI: $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident

UMPD: $10,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

UMPD: $20,000 per accident

West Virginia

UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

UMPD: $25,000 per accident


UMBI: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

Source: Insurance Information Institute, January 2022

In New Hampshire and Virginia, auto insurance is not mandatory but if purchased, it should include uninsured motorist coverage.

How much does uninsured motorist coverage cost?

Premiums for uninsured motorist coverage are relatively less expensive than other types of car insurance policies, although prices could be higher in states with a higher percentage of drivers without insurance. On average, UM coverage costs less than standard liability insurance. 

Personal finance firm NerdWallet pegs the price of uninsured motorist coverage at about less than half the price of a regular liability policy, while financial information website MarketWatch says drivers can take out UM coverage for as little as an additional $5 to $10 in their monthly premiums.

Is taking out uninsured motorist coverage worth it?

Although not compulsory in most states, there are several reasons why drivers should consider taking out UM coverage, according to experts.

“You may be required to buy uninsured motorist coverage, depending on where you live, but even if you’re not, it’s worth considering,” NerdWallet advised. “This type of insurance costs relatively little and could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars if you’re hit by an uninsured driver.”

It added that even for those with health insurance, purchasing UM policies has its share of advantages.

“While your health insurance should pay for medical treatment after a wreck, uninsured motorist coverage could still be beneficial, as it can cover ongoing expenses like long-term care,” the firm explained. “Plus, there’s typically no deductible for UMBI coverage, which could offset a high health insurance deductible.”

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