Uniunsured versus underinsured motorist coverage

When purchasing a new vehicle insurance policy or reviewing an existing policy, residents in Pennsylvania may evaluate different coverage options. These may include financial limits on certain types of coverage or even adding an optional feature.

Two optional coverages available in Pennsylvania are uninsured motorist insurance and underinsured motorist insurance. While similar in name, their functions differ.

Uninsured motorist coverage

According to NerdWallet, a 2017 Insurance Research Council study found that one out of eight drivers still fail to carry vehicle insurance today, despite the fact that most states mandate such coverage. This fact highlights the need for other drivers to protect themselves should they ever be hit by one of the uninsured motorists. This coverage may pay for repairs to the policy holder’s vehicle or other items damaged in the crash. It may also pay for medical treatments necessitated by the incident.

Underinsured motorist coverage

When an insured driver causes an accident, their insurance policy may pay for medical costs or vehicle repairs for the other party up to the limit stated on the policy. In some cases, Forbes explains that an injured person’s medical bills may exceed the limit on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. At this point, the injured person’s underinsured motorist coverage may kick in to cover the additional costs.

Policy limits

The amount up to which a policy pays may vary based on the number of people involved. A policy may cap payments per person and per incident. The per incident cap supersedes the per person cap. A policy may cap payments at $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident. If three people require medical care, not all may receive up to $15,000 in coverage.