Say that you get into an auto accident in Mississippi that you know was not your fault; you have the police report to prove it. You are not responsible for the accident, so you should not bear responsibility for paying for the resulting damage and medical bills. But that is no guarantee.

If you do not have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your current auto policy, NerdWallet explains the basics. Ensure that you do not have to pay for someone else’s lack of attention and bad driving habits.

How it works

Should another driver hit you and she or he does not have auto insurance, you bear responsibility for the repairs and medical bills. You could take the responsible party to court, but there are no guarantees anything would come of it. With underinsured/uninsured coverage, you would have a way to cover the damage. Even better, you could receive compensation for lost wages and any pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

Why you should have it

Understandably, you want to keep your insurance premiums low by not having underinsured/uninsured driver coverage. That said, you have to think about how extensive and expensive a single auto accident can be. In addition to getting your vehicle back in working order and healing from injuries, the last thing you need to deal with is worrying about how to pay for everything.

Health insurance substitute

Your current health insurance policy may be enough to take care of any injuries sustained in the accident if you opt to not have underinsured/uninsured coverage. That said, there is a chance that your health insurer may demand a portion of any reimbursement you receive from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. That reimbursement amount may not be enough to take care of anything you paid for out of your own pocket, but your health insurer may still want a percentage. That is why it is a good idea to go ahead and add underinsured/uninsured driver coverage to your policy.

Do your future self a favor. Head disaster off at the pass with underinsured/uninsured coverage.