Frequently Asked Questions About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Dec 7, 2022 | Blog, Car Insurance, Uninsured Drivers

Getting hurt in a serious car crash because of another driver’s carelessness is bad enough. But when the at-fault driver carries no insurance, or doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your medical treatment and other damages from the crash, you can find yourself in financial trouble as well.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets from such an unfair situation — even though insurance companies don’t always do a good job of explaining your options to you. Here are the most common questions our clients ask about protecting themselves from uninsured drivers and some solutions.

What is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers your losses from being hit by a driver who does not have insurance, or if the at-fault driver is underinsured. Depending on the specifics of the coverage, it can help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses caused by the accident. For example, let’s say the at-fault driver carries only $25,000 in liability insurance, but your medical bills from the crash amount to $50,000. Your UIM coverage with your own insurance company would pay the remaining $25,000 not covered by the other driver’s insurance.

Am I required to carry uninsured motorist coverage?

In Colorado, insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage as part of any standard policy. If you don’t want it, you must formally waive that coverage in writing. But we advise our clients that you not only shouldn’t waive it, you should consider increasing the coverage well beyond the minimum in order to adequately protect yourself from uninsured and underinsured drivers.

Why do I need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?

Nationally, it’s estimated that 13 percent of all drivers, about one out of every eight, is on the road without insurance. That adds up to 32 million uninsured drivers across the country. And your chances of being in a collision with one of them are even greater in Colorado, which has a substantially higher rate of uninsured drivers than the national average, close to one in five.

But uninsured drivers are only part of the problem. Of the 80 percent of the Colorado driving public who do have insurance, nearly half of them are carrying the bare minimum of liability coverage required by law: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, with a maximum of $50,000 per incident. While that might be adequate for minor accidents, it’s clearly not enough for more serious crashes, in which medical costs could easily exceed the policy limits. Yet because the state’s minimum requirements are so low, if you do happen to be injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the likelihood that the other driver carries no insurance or is underinsured is better than 50-50.

How much coverage do I need?

State law requires that the amount of uninsured motorist coverage can’t be higher than your liability limits. In other words, if you carry only the minimum $25,000 per person for bodily injury, that applies to your uninsured motorist coverage, too—not nearly enough, as explained above, to address the costs of a serious accident. Yet it costs only a few dollars more per month to raise the coverage substantially. Increasing your liability coverage to $100,000 per person for bodily injury, with a $300,000 limit per accident and $100,000 for property damage – known as the 100/300/100 option – gives you four times the amount of liability coverage but doesn’t cost much more than the minimum. And it raises the uninsured motorist coverage to that amount as well.

You should discuss your options with your insurance agent to get a better picture of the specific costs involved. But we urge our clients to consider increasing their coverage to the maximum amount offered by their carrier. In most cases, that’s $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. Such coverage will cost you a few hundred dollars more in premiums per year than the bare-bones minimum coverage, but it has the potential to save you tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs from a bad wreck with an uninsured driver.

How do I recover my losses if I’m hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver?

That depends on whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and your policy limits. If you don’t have the coverage, you may have to go to court to try to compel the other driver to compensate you for your losses, but it’s possible (and even probable) that a driver without insurance doesn’t have the personal assets to make up for your losses. But if you do have adequate UIM coverage, you would file a claim with your own insurance company.


For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.