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How to buy uninsured motorist property-damage coverage


29 states have laws addressing Uninsured Motorist Property-Damage (UMPD) coverage

Alaska: insured may reject in writing
Arkansas: insured may reject in writing, $200 deductible
California: insured may reject in writing
Colorado: coverage optional
Delaware: accepting UM coverage includes UMPD
District of Columbia: UMPD required
Georgia: UMPD required
Hawaii: UMPD required
Illinois: insured may reject coverage
Indiana: insured may reject in writing
Louisiana: UMPD required, $250 deductible
Maryland: UMPD required
Mississippi: insured may reject coverage
New Hampshire: not required
New Jersey: UMPD required
New Mexico: UMPD required
North Carolina: UMPD required
Ohio: coverage available upon request
Oregon: UMPD required
Rhode Island: mandatory unless rejected in writing, optional if insured has collision coverage
South Carolina: UMPD required
Tennessee: insured may reject coverage, $200 deductible
Texas: UMPD required
Utah: UMPD required if no collision coverage
Vermont: UMPD required
Virginia: UMPD required
Washington: UMPD required if no collision coverage
West Virginia: UMPD required
Wyoming: not required
Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 2011

Many people make the mistake of assuming that if their auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, they are completely protected if an uninsured driver crashes into their vehicle. However, standard UM coverage pays only for bodily injury medical expenses that result from an accident caused by an uninsured driver. UM won't pay for your car damage.

If your auto insurance policy includes collision coverage, you don't have to worry. It will pay for your repairs. But you will need to pay your collision deductible. If you don't have collision coverage, you may want to consider a coverage type called uninsured motorist property-damage (UMPD). It pays for repairs to your vehicle if you are struck by an uninsured driver, and it doesn’t require a deductible.

If you cause an accident yourself, your UMPD does not pay for repairs – you’ll have to rely on collision coverage in that case.

UMPD coverage is generally purchased by drivers who don't have collision coverage. Carrying both UMPD and collision would result in unnecessary redundant coverage — but some states require it.

Industry sources say UMPD is not highly sought-after where it's optional because it applies in only narrow cases: If someone else hits you and they are uninsured.

According to data collected by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 29 states have laws addressing UMPD coverage. In some states it is required, in others it's optional; some states will automatically include it in your policy, but you may reject it in writing. Because of the wide variations, it's important to consult your insurance agent.

States that do not have legislation addressing the issue do not require UMPD. Depending on your insurer, it may or may not be offered in those states.

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