Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t legally required in Alaska—but it’s worth getting to have extra protection from Alaska’s high rate of uninsured drivers.
Alaska’s high liability insurance minimums provide some protection for drivers—but only if both parties involved in an accident are covered. And Alaska’s high rate of uninsured drivers is at least partially due to the fact that residents living in remote areas of the state are exempt from carrying coverage. All things considered, adding uninsured motorist insurance to your policy in Alaska is a good idea.
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Alaska?
According to the latest numbers from the
Insurance Information Institute (III), approximately 16.1% of all drivers in Alaska are uninsured, making it the fourteenth worst state in the country for uninsured drivers.
This means that if you get in a car accident in Alaska, you have a one in six chance it’s with an uninsured driver. If that happens, the other driver won’t have the necessary coverage to pay your medical bills or property damage—and you could be left with a huge financial burden.
That’s where uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage comes in handy. This optional coverage steps in to pay for key medical expenses associated with a car accident when the other driver’s insurance (or lack thereof) cannot.
Since Alaska does not require all drivers to carry the minimum
liability insurance, your risk of encountering an uninsured driver is even higher. Drivers living in some remote areas are provided an exemption. These uninsured drivers face additional risk due to Alaska’s No Pay, No Play laws, which limit the payout they can receive if they are not at fault in an accident.
Not only will UM/UIM give you added financial security in an accident with one of Alaska’s many uninsured drivers, but it’s also a rather affordable add-on. Uninsured motorist coverage in Alaska costs an average of $50-$75 a year.
How uninsured motorist insurance works in Alaska
That’s the only legally required car insurance drivers need in Alaska. If you opt for only carrying the minimum car insurance, your payments will be low—but you’re also opening yourself up to significant risk.
In regards to UM/UIM coverage, it is not a legal requirement to carry it—but insurance companies must offer at least the following:
$100,000 UM/UIM bodily injury coverage per accident
$50,000 UM/UIM bodily injury coverage per person
$25,000 UM/UIM property damage coverage per accident
To opt out of uninsured motorist coverage in Alaska, you’ll have to reject it in writing.
In Alaska, there are four different kinds of UM/UIM insurance available:
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM/UMBI), which covers your medical expenses (and those of your passengers) after an accident with an uninsured driver
Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIM/UIMBI), which covers your medical expenses if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UM/UMPD), which covers your property damage expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver
Underinsured motorist property damage coverage (UIM/UIMPD), which covers your property damage expenses if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs
Although none of these are required by state law, Alaska insurance companies are required to offer a minimum amount of UM/UIM coverage.
What it covers
UM/UIM coverage in Alaska will cover the property damage and medical expenses for you and your passengers. These expenses include the following:
Vehicle repairs or replacement
The last thing you want to worry about after an accident is unexpected costs for you and your family. UM/UIM coverage is an easy and affordable add-on that will provide you with peace of mind and financial support if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
How to make a claim
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, exchange insurance information with the other driver, document the scene, and then contact your insurance provider to file the claim. Once your claims adjuster collects all your information, they will take it from there.
If you or one of your passengers was injured and needed immediate medical attention, make sure to give the healthcare provider your car insurance information instead of your health insurance information. The hospital will contact your insurance carrier and the adjuster will set up direct payments on your behalf if coverage like UM/UIM or MedPay comes into play.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay) is an optional coverage that will provide the initial payments towards medical expenses resulting from an accident regardless of fault. Once this limit is exhausted, your UM/UIM coverage will kick in up to your policy limits if it is applicable.
Going forward, your health insurance should cover any medical expenses that exceed the limits on your car insurance policy.
What is Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage?
Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in Alaska
Even though UM/UIM coverage costs more than just the minimum liability insurance, it’s still worth getting. Here are a few reasons why you should consider getting uninsured motorist coverage in Alaska.
Alaska doesn’t require all drivers to carry insurance
Because of Alaska’s many remote areas, some drivers are exempt from carrying the minimum Alaska car insurance or even having a
vehicle registration. These drivers are subject to Alaska’s No Pay, No Play laws, which prevent them from receiving a payout if they are not at fault in an accident.
While they may not be able to make a claim, if you are in an accident with one of these drivers exempt from carrying insurance, you still can. Rather than put you and your family at financial risk in an accident with an uninsured driver, consider the benefits of uninsured motorist coverage.
Alaska healthcare is getting more expensive
With Alaska healthcare spending increasing by 7.8% each year, the last thing you need is to get stuck with expensive medical bills after an accident.
Alaska’s minimum bodily injury liability is higher than most states, but that won’t help you if you get in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. The best way to avoid costly medical bills after a car accident is to add UM/UIM insurance to your policy.
Up to one in six Alaska drivers is uninsured
Alaska has a high number of uninsured drivers—up to one in six drivers on the road don’t carry any car insurance. Getting in an accident with one of these drivers leaves you with two options in Alaska: either pay your resulting expenses yourself or sue them for the funds.
Save yourself the time and money involved in a lawsuit (or paying out-of-pocket) by investing in uninsured motorist coverage.
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