What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Learn how this coverage may protect you against unexpected property damage and medical expenses.

photo of a man getting in his car, smiling at the knowledge that he's protected by insurance

Underinsured motorist coverage may help cover your expenses when another driver hits your car but their insurance is inadequate.

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If someone hits your car, you’d expect that driver’s insurance to fix any damage to your vehicle and pay any medical bills if you or your passengers get hurt. But what if that driver bought a bare-bones policy and doesn’t have enough coverage to make things right?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, depending on your home state, some 5 to 27 percent of drivers are underinsured. One in eight drivers in the U.S. isn’t insured at all. Gah! You can’t control how much insurance other drivers have, but you can help protect yourself from a shortfall with underinsured motorist coverage.

How does underinsured motorist coverage work?

When you’re in a collision that’s another driver’s fault, that driver’s liability and bodily injury coverage typically reimburses you for car repairs and medical bills. If the other driver’s policy isn’t robust enough, your underinsured motorist coverage may help make up the difference, depending on the extent of the damage and injury. The other driver’s liability coverage pays for your damage up to that policy’s limits, and then your underinsured motorist coverage may provide additional protection.

Because you’re essentially collecting money from another driver’s insurance company, you may need to make the case that you’re entitled to their coverage. It’s always a good idea to get a police report at the scene of a crash, as well as contact information for any witnesses. That might require proving that the other driver was at fault.

What types of underinsured motorist coverage are available?

There are two main types of underinsured motorist coverage:

  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage may pay a settlement for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you or your passengers get hurt.

  • Underinsured motorist property damage may pay for repairs to your vehicle.

What is the difference between uninsured and underinsured?

Underinsured motorist coverage may help pay your medical expenses when you’re hit by a driver who has auto insurance but not enough to cover your bills (an underinsured driver).

Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for those same damages if you’re hit by a driver who has no auto insurance at all (an uninsured driver).

What does underinsured motorist insurance cover?

Underinsured motorist insurance usually covers:

  • repairs to your damaged vehicle

  • damage to your home, if it’s struck by someone else’s vehicle

  • medical bills for you and your passengers, including hospital care

  • compensation for pain and suffering

  • lost wages, if you’re unable to work due to your injuries

  • services that perform tasks that you did before you were injured, such as house cleaners and babysitters

  • funeral expenses for you and your passengers

How do I get underinsured motorist insurance?

AAA offers a range of auto insurance, including underinsured motorist coverage. An agent will work with you to find the policy that’s best for you. With AAA Insurance, you get coverage backed by decades of experience, supportive claims service, and emergency roadside assistance. Contact an agent and get a free auto insurance quote.

Exceptional coverage. Expert service. Extra savings.
AAA Auto, Home, and Life Insurance

More Car Insurance Definitions

The availability, qualifications, and amounts of coverages, costs and discounts may vary from state to state and there may be coverages and discounts not listed here. In addition, other terms, conditions, and exclusions not described above may apply, and total savings may vary depending on the coverages purchased. For more information regarding your eligibility for certain coverages and savings opportunities, please contact your AAA agent. Insurance products in California offered by AAA Northern California Insurance Agency. License #0175868, in Nevada by AAA Nevada and in Utah by AAA Utah. Insurance provided by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer.