Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Mississippi?

Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 3:38 pm in Car Accidents.

While a certain minimum vehicle insurance is mandated in Mississippi, uninsured motorist coverage is not. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is extra insurance protection if a driver is in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Uninsured motorist coverage must be offered to all drivers in Mississippi. However, drivers can opt-out in writing. If you do choose to keep your UM coverage, you must purchase a minimum $25,000/$50,000 policy.

So, do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Mississippi? The quick answer is it depends.

We’ll explain the ins and outs of UM coverage and why it might be a good idea to have it, especially in the Magnolia State.

What Is the Difference Between UM and UIM?

For both UM and UIM, there are bodily injury and property damage options, but here’s a little more in-depth explanation of the differences between the two types of coverage:

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM):

This type of coverage pays when an at-fault driver without insurance causes a car accident. Some states allow policyholders to use uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) to cover hit-and-run accidents.

  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM):

This type of coverage pays when another driver causes an accident and they do not carry enough liability insurance to cover all of your medical bills, lost wages, damage to your car, etc.

Reasons to Have UM or UIM Coverage

As we’ve discussed, drivers are not legally required to have uninsured motorist coverage in the state of Mississippi. However, we have a list of reasons and scenarios where having such coverage would benefit you and others.

The Cost Is Worth It

Most basic UM and UIM coverage costs policyholders between $50 and $140 annually for both bodily injury and property damage coverage. It’s important to note that certain states with higher amounts of uninsured drivers may have higher premiums for coverage, but in those states with more uninsured drivers, that policy premium will likely be worth it.

For example, according to data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), Mississippi is one of the top three states for uninsured drivers, with 22.2% of drivers being uninsured in 2022. This means that drivers within our state are far more likely to be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver than in most other states, hopefully making it easy for drivers to choose UM coverage.

It Covers Car Accident Injuries

Even if you have health insurance, that doesn’t mean you have a good plan or a low deductible. So, when you’re involved in a serious car accident, you’ll probably need that little extra to help cover your medical bills. UM insurance is a way to cover these injuries and bills without worrying about copays or health insurance deductibles. It may also provide coverage or compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages.

Some Likely Scenarios

Here are some hypothetical situations:

  • You’re rear-ended at a stop light, and the driver who hits you takes off, leaving you with a damaged car, a hurt back, and very little information on the driver.
  • You’re making a protected turn, and another driver runs the light and hits you, leaving you with injuries and your car damaged. You find out the at-fault driver has no insurance.
  • You’re walking across a pedestrian crosswalk, and you’re hit and severely injured by a distracted driver. That driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover all of your medical expenses.

In any of these situations, UM insurance will likely cover the injuries you have suffered as well as pain and suffering and lost wages from days you’ve had to take off of work due to your injuries. If you don’t have UM coverage in one of these scenarios, you could attempt to sue the at-fault driver, but depending on how much information you have about the incident, that may prove difficult.

While some UM policies or some states don’t allow for UM coverage to be used in hit-and-run scenarios, any incident where injuries occur and the at-fault driver has no insurance or doesn’t have enough liability insurance is an incident where UM would be a good thing to have.

Is UM Coverage Needed?

So, to answer the question: Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Mississippi? No, you don’t need it until you need it.

However, our experienced attorneys at Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC would highly recommend every driver in the state of Mississippi purchase UM coverage.

The cost is minimal and the potential benefits are numerous. If you have the unfortunate experience of needing to use your uninsured motorist coverage, our team is here to help!

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