Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Arkansas: Do You Need It?

Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t a legal requirement in Arkansas—but it’s still worth considering.
Written by Sarah Williams
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
Car insurance
companies in
are required by law to offer uninsured motorist coverage, but drivers can opt out in writing. 
Arkansas state law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, including bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could still be left covering huge costs—that’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes in. 
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in Arkansas?

Drivers in Arkansas are not required by law to carry
uninsured motorist coverage
—but insurers are required to offer it. 
Looking at the latest numbers from the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
, approximately 19.3% of all drivers in Arkansas are uninsured, making it the eighth-worst state in the country for uninsured drivers. 
Why does it matter?
Because as a driver in Arkansas, if you’re in a
car accident
, you’ve got a one in five chance the other driver is uninsured. Combine that with the number of drivers who only meet
Arkansas's minimum car insurance laws
and your chances of getting in an accident with an uninsured driver are even higher. 
Without uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, if the other driver isn’t able to cover your medical or property damage costs, you have two options: pay them yourself or file a lawsuit. Neither of these options is ideal—and that’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes in. 
Not only is UM/UIM coverage affordable, but it also covers the difference between the at fault party's coverage and your own liability limits if the at fault driver has insurance but just not enough to cover your medical expenses completely.
And how much does uninsured motorist coverage cost in Arkansas? This extra peace of mind (and potentially significant extra financial protection) costs drivers in Arkansas only an additional $50 to 75 per year. 

How uninsured motorist insurance works in Arkansas

Arkansas’ mandated insurance minimums are known as “25/50/20,” or $25,000 of
bodily injury liability
per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 of
property damage liability
per accident.
Essentially, these minimums pay for the other driver's medical expenses and property damage if you’re at fault in an accident. The UM/UIM minimum limits must at least match the required Arkansas
liability insurance
. Choosing only to carry the minimum car insurance will help cover costs in an accident—but only up to the designated amount. If the costs skyrocket above those minimums, you’ll find yourself on the hook (especially if the other driver is uninsured!). 
Let’s take a closer look at how uninsured motorist insurance works in Arkansas so that you can make the best decision for your needs. 

What’s available

UM/UIM insurance in Arkansas fits into two categories: 
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM/UMBI) covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver. It will also provide property damage coverage to repair/replace your vehicle.
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIM/UIMBI) covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses if the other driver’s liability insurance doesn’t fully cover your costs. It will also cover property damage to repair/replace your vehicle if damages are over $200 and the at fault driver doesn’t have enough property damage coverage to pay for your damages.
Even though neither of these is required by Arkansas law, Section 23-89-403 of the Arkansas Code requires insurance companies to make it available—and match the state’s minimum liability insurance. In other words, it includes at least the same 25/50/25 coverage. 
You can increase those UM/UIM minimums, but if you choose to waive UM/UIM coverage altogether, you’ll have to decline it in writing. 

What it covers

According to Section 23-89-403 of the Arkansas Code, UM/UIM coverage in Arkansas falls under two categories: bodily injury and property damage. 
For bodily injury, UM/UIM allows drivers to recover damages from their insurance provider for bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death that results from an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist. 
In regards to property damage, drivers are required to pay a $200 deductible, after which their provider will take over, up to the amount you are covered for (i.e., $25,000). Property damage refers to damage to your vehicle—including a reasonable allowance for the loss of use of your vehicle.
are covered by UM/UIM coverage in Arkansas, although if the damage to your vehicle doesn’t exceed $200, there’s not much point in submitting a claim. 

Stacking UM/UIM

The state of Arkansas allows drivers the benefit of
stacking their UM/UIM coverage
. Drivers who insure more than one vehicle can combine their UM/UIM limits for more coverage. In the event the UM/UIM limits carried on the vehicle involved in the car accident are insufficient, the stacked limits rule might kick in to pay for any overages. For example:
  • One car policy: UI/UIM coverage is 25/50/25, stacking doesn’t apply
  • Two car policy: UI/UIM coverage is 25/50/25, stacked limit is 50/100/50
  • Four car policy: UI/UIM coverage is 25/50/25, stacked limit is 100/200/100

How to make a claim 

If you find yourself needing to
file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim
, there are steps you’ll need to take at the scene of the accident and once you’re safely at home. 
After a car accident
, you’ll want to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, take pictures of the scene, and collect any eyewitness contact information. Once it is safe to do so, call your insurance provider and explain what happened. After the claim is filed, your claims adjuster will investigate, determine fault, and contact the other driver's insurance company. If the at fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, the claims adjuster will access the UM/UIM portion of your policy for payments towards your loss—if you have retained the coverage. 
If you or one of your passengers are injured and need immediate medical attention, 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.
However, UM/UIM coverage is not the only way you might have protection against uninsured drivers.
The state of Arkansas requires insurance companies to offer
personal injury protection (PIP)
coverage with at least a $5,000 limit. If you did not decline this coverage in writing, payments toward you or your passenger's medical expenses would come from PIP first. 
Any overages would be paid for through UM/UIM and once those limits are exhausted, your personal health insurance may kick in.

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

Now that we’ve gone over the how and what of uninsured motorist insurance in Arkansas, let’s talk about the why. Read on for our top three reasons why you should get uninsured motorist insurance in Arkansas. 

Congested cities and interstates in Arkansas

One of the reasons Arkansas has such high car insurance minimums is because its densely populated cities and interstates often lead to more accidents. And with more accidents comes a greater risk of getting in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. 
Combine that with Arkansas's high rates of uninsured drivers, and UM/UIM coverage starts looking pretty good! 

Arkansas is an at-fault state

Because Arkansas is an at-fault state, the at-fault driver in an accident is responsible for filing a claim with their insurance to cover the costs associated with an accident.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, who pays the bill? If the driver can’t or won’t pay the costs (or flees the scene of the accident), you are left with a (potentially) large bill—and without UM/UIM coverage, no one to pay! 
You have the option to sue the at-fault driver (if it’s not a hit-and-run), but you risk a lengthy and expensive court case—and you’ll be responsible for proving the other driver was at fault. 
UM/UIM coverage steps in by covering the bill (within your coverage limits) for uninsured drivers or the remainder of the bill for underinsured drivers. 
MORE: Does insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Up to one in five Arkansas drivers is uninsured

With approximately 19.3% of all drivers in Arkansas driving uninsured, the chances of getting in an accident with an uninsured driver are high. So high, in fact, that Arkansas is the eighth-worst state in the US for uninsured drivers. 
With those stats, adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your insurance in Arkansas is worth it! 

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in Arkansas

If the $50 to $70 annual fee for uninsured motorist coverage in Arkansas is holding you back, we’ve got a solution for you! 
Many drivers find
shopping for auto insurance
tiresome. Each provider has its own formula to calculate your premiums, meaning your rates from company to company could be drastically different. 
Often, accessing quotes requires long forms and waiting on hold with each company. With
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