People buy insurance to protect themselves against disasters, accidents, and potential liability. You are one of those people. But not everyone thinks like you. Especially when it comes to auto insurance, some drivers see it as an unnecessary expense. They either believe they are excellent drivers who will never get into an accident (which is usually not true on both counts) or figure “the other guy” will have insurance. So when you have an accident with Mr. or Ms. Uninsured Motorist, what happens with your vehicle?

According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), one driver out of every seven drivers in the United States is currently uninsured. This is especially startling considering that an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can result in significant costs that aren’t covered by a basic liability insurance policy.

The State of California mandates liability limits for auto insurance be 10/20/3 for low cost auto insurance policyholders. For regular drivers, it’s 15/30/5. The first number is medical payments per person in an accident, the second is total payments for everyone in a single accident, and the third payment is total property damage payment.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to help you pay for bills associated with a crash that was caused by another person who either doesn’t have an auto insurance policy or has a policy with liability limits that are too low to cover costs associated with a covered loss.

The best way to be sure you have the coverage you need — or to find out what coverage you have — is talk to your insurance professional. Sit down and figure out which policies are giving you adequate protection and which may need a little boost.