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Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Alabama: What You Need To Know

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Although
Alabama
doesn't require underinsured or
uninsured motorist coverage
, its affordability and the potential costs of driving without it make it a good investment.
Does Alabama law require uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage? The answer is yes and no. Insurance providers must include UM/UIM coverage with every insurance policy sold in the state, but they also have to give drivers a way to opt out. Many folks do so in the interest of saving money.
The consequences of driving without UM/UIM coverage, however, are much more expensive than the costs. With
Jerry
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shopping for car insurance
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Alabama?

The answer lies in
Alabama's car insurance laws
, specifically
§32-7-23 of the Code of Alabama
. It states that your insurance company must include uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage in your policy and also give you a chance to refuse.
Let's say you want to purchase a policy that only meets Alabama's minimum requirements. Your helpful licensed insurance broker, Jerry, gives you a low quote for
liability car insurance
, a type of coverage that pays for any damages you cause to another person's body or property. The limits for your policy follow a 25/50/25 rule. 
At this point, your
Alabama car
insurance policy includes:
Overall, your policy covers $50,000 in injuries and $25,000 in property damage.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage limits are the same as your bodily injury liability coverage, which means you'll be adding another $50,000 to your policy. You can sign a waiver to decline the extra coverage, but it’s not recommended.
Just because you don’t have to buy UM/UIM coverage doesn’t mean you don’t need it. In fact, it could save you money in the long run. In Alabama, getting hit by an uninsured driver isn’t just likely but also incredibly expensive. Here’s the full explanation.

Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in Alabama

If you or your passengers were injured in a car accident, normally you’d file a claim with the insurance company of the driver at fault. Under their bodily injury liability insurance (which follows the minimums we just discussed), at least $25,000 of your injuries would be covered.
However, if the driver at fault wasn’t carrying any insurance—i.e. they were uninsured—you’d have to pay for your own medical treatments. That’s right: without UM/UIM coverage, you’d be on the hook for the whole bill.

One in five drivers in Alabama are uninsured

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III),
19.5% of Alabama drivers are uninsured
, making it the 7th most likely place to be hit by an uninsured driver in the United States. In the event of an accident, you've got a one in five chance of getting stuck with the bill.

Alabama’s minimum insurance requirements are low

Even if the other driver has insurance, you may still be liable for some of the costs. It costs an average of $1,496 to go to the ER for a moderate injury in Alabama. When you include rehabilitation, bed stay, surgery, disability costs, and lost wages, the cost for a severe injury could easily exceed Alabama's minimum insurance requirements.
So, for example, your hospital bill runs $35,000 instead of $15,000, you’ll have to make up the $10,000 difference.
Or, if you're unlucky, the other driver might disappear without leaving their details, leaving you to find out whether or not your insurance covers a hit-and-run. And although
Alabama's hit-and-run
laws outline harsh punishments for the offender, they can't help you if it turns out the other party was uninsured or underinsured all along.
UM/UIM insurance covers both of these cases. In the first, once you file a claim, the initial payment will come from the at-fault driver's insurance company for the maximum payout of $25,000, and then your own insurance company will pay for the remaining $10,000. In the second, the hit-and-run driver would be treated as an uninsured driver and your insurance company would cover the medical expenses. The best part is that your premiums usually don’t go up after a UM/UIM claim!

UM/UIM coverage is cheap

It costs around 5% of your annual premium to obtain UM/UIM coverage. For as little as $86 to $134 per year, you could have $100,000 of coverage! Plus, Alabama car insurance is about 5% cheaper than anywhere else in the country—and you could save even more with Jerry’s help.
Given the high number of uninsured drivers on the road, the cost of medical care, and the low price of extra coverage in Alabama, Jerry recommends keeping UM/UIM insurance on your policy.

How uninsured motorist insurance works in Alabama

In Alabama, any injuries you suffer from either an uninsured or underinsured motorist will be covered under a single UM/UIM insurance policy. Generally, its limits must equal the limits of your bodily injury liability insurance (i.e. at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident), but you can raise them as necessary.
Alabama has another optional coverage called
medical payments (MedPay)
. If this coverage is part of your insurance policy, medical expenses will be paid for from this coverage firstregardless of who is at fault for the accident. Once Medpay is exhausted, UM/UIM will kick in automatically if applicable.
You’ve probably also noticed that we've only talked about claiming damages for bodily injuries under UM/UIM insurance. Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) insurance isn’t available in Alabama. To cover vehicle repairs, consider
collision
or
comprehensive insurance
.

What it covers

In Alabama, UM/UIM insurance covers any expenses related to medical treatment for you or your passengers, including:
  • Ongoing treatment
  • Long-term physical therapy, rehabilitation, or nursing care
  • Medical devices, such as crutches or wheelchairs
  • Modifications to your home or car to accommodate disabilities
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering (under certain circumstances)
  • Funeral expenses
Under Alabama law, you can also "stack" up to three extra coverage limits if you have
more than one vehicle insured under a single policy
. Suppose you had a UM/UIM insurance policy with a $25,000 limit and you insured three cars on that policy. If you were injured in a car accident, you could multiply your $25,000 limit by three for a maximum of $75,000 in medical expenses.

How to make a UM/UIM insurance claim

Alabama is an at-fault state; in order for you to make a claim for any injuries or property damage, the other driver must be 100% at fault. Any amount of
contributory negligence
on your part could result in your claim being rejected. Another common reason car accident claims are denied is a lack of documentation, so gather as much information as you can every step of the way!
After a car accident
, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone is safe and out of harm's way. Next, you'll want to exchange details with any other driver(s) at the scene. Trade contact information—including names, phone numbers, and addresses—and insurance information, especially the name of their insurance company and their policy number
You should always report a car accident to your insurance company—it’s in the paperwork you signed to get insured in the first place! To file a claim, call your insurance company and send any relevant documents along with details of the accident. Your claims adjuster will contact the other driver's insurance provider or find out if they don't have insurance and handle the situation for you.
If your claims adjuster discovers that the at-fault driver is uninsured or doesn't have enough insurance, they will automatically process your claim using the UM/UIM and collision coverage on your policy if needed.
If you or your passengers need immediate medical assistance, give the healthcare provider your car insurance information instead of your health insurance information. This way, they will start the claim process for you. Once your UM/UIM coverage is activated, your claims adjuster will send payments directly to the healthcare provider on your behalf.

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in Alabama

UM/UIM coverage typically represents about 5% of your annual insurance premium. If you want the cheapest premiums (and the cheapest UM/UIM insurance as a result), use Jerry, the
trustworthy licensed broker app
!
More than 55 top insurance companies partner with Jerry. It's the reason we can offer you such
competitive car insurance quotes
and a quick sign-up. With an average savings of over $800 per year, it's the fastest, most efficient comparison shopping you'll ever do!
Discover why Jerry is the #1 insurance app in the App Store today with a 4.7-star rating!
“I’ve shaved off at least $50 a month using
Jerry
. For now, I chose only to pay for Alabama state minimums, but I am confident that with Jerry, I can upgrade or change my coverage at any time. The AI-integrated process is really intuitive, too!” —Fred D.
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