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Does uninsured motorist extend to all my vehicles?


Question: Does uninsured motorist insurance coverage on one vehicle cover your other cars if both vehicles are insured with the same company? I have done this in the past, but I am now questioning if I were really covered on the vehicle I didn’t put the coverage on.

Answer:  Each vehicle usually needs its own uninsured motorist coverage.

If an uninsured driver injures you, uninsured motorist bodily injury (UM) can help pay for your medical bills and lost wages.  With uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD), damages to your car can be covered (up to the limits of your coverage) if it’s hit by someone driving without insurance.

There are several states that mandate uninsured motorist coverage, so if you live one of these states, then you’d have to carry UM on each vehicle you own.  In other states, it’s an optional coverage, but your insurer normally will require you to carry the same UM coverage on all cars that you cover on your policy.

In general, auto insurers will not allow you to carry uninsured motorist on one vehicle on your policy and not another.  And even if your state and insurer did allow this, the coverage wouldn’t extend to your second car because you didn’t pay for the coverage and its benefits when using that vehicle. 

This is also true if you own another vehicle, such as a motorcycle, that is on its own separate policy with your same insurer.  If you want uninsured motorist coverages for the motorcycle, then you’d have to purchase coverage on that policy as well.

Typically, car insurance companies will require that you carry the same liability coverages (bodily injury liability and property damage liability) on all vehicles that are on the same policy, and this requirement extends to uninsured motorist insurance. 

For example, if you carry UM coverage of 50/100 on one of your cars, you can't choose to go without coverage or have lower limits of 25/50 on your other cars.  All cars need the same coverage and at the same level for UM with most all insurers. 

Some auto insurance carriers may list the UM coverage one time on the policy and show that the other vehicles are covered in the overall rate.  The one rate then factors in all of the vehicles to be covered by your UM coverage (each car having their own coverage).  Listing coverages this way can be confusing to some, so if you are unsure what your exact coverages are on your vehicles, contact your auto insurer to find out what specifically is covered by your policy.

With the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimating there is a one in seven chance that a vehicle is being driven without car insurance, uninsured motorist is a good coverage to include on your policy – for each vehicle.

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