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Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

By Jacob Regar

No. But, you do want it. Trust me. Uninsured motorist insurance coverage (“UM”) is a must-have. UM coverage can pay for your accident-related damages when they are caused by an uninsured motorist. The protection extends beyond coverage for accidents where you are the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle. Your UM coverage will kick in if you are a pedestrian (walking, running, riding your bicycle) and struck by an uninsured vehicle.

The California Department of Insurance’s statistics on this topic only go up to 2004. Outdated, yes, but the stats show that as the years passed, the number of registered vehicles increased. Fortunately, the rate of insured vehicles also rose—until 2004 that is.

That said, as of 2004,it is estimated that in California, 3,559,230 vehicles are uninsured. That’s about 1/7 vehicles—scary. So, the probability of driving next to an uninsured vehicle is pretty good. It, therefore, makes sense to pay for uninsured motorist coverage when you purchase insurance from your agent.

Another reputable statistic source, the Insurance Research Council, provides more recent data, albeit on a national level. According to this source, as of 2011, 1/7 drivers were uninsured. A blurb on their website states that the rates of uninsured motorists were declining from 2004 until 2008 at which point they began to rise. The timing of the decline of insured drivers coincided with the economic downturn that the U.S. experienced.

It’s understandable to cut costs when times are tight, but UM coverage is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Too many drivers are uninsured. That’s a huge problem. Most people cannot afford to pay for the expenses that follow a serious traffic accident. And even if they can afford it, who wants to pay for a giant mess that was caused by someone else’s negligence?

It’s clear, then, that purchasing UM coverage makes good sense.