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Uninsured motorist won't pay

Question: I was hit by an uninsured driver.  Just his car and my car were damaged, no injuries. The accident was found to be my fault, so my insurance company is paying to fix my car.  Since I have uninsured motorist, do I have to pay a deductible?

Answer:  You’ll need to pay a deductible.  And, I have other bad news for you: Your claim will be filed under your collision coverage, not your uninsured motorist coverage. This means it’s more likely to affect your future car insurance rates.

Also, since you damaged the other party, then in most states that individual can place a claim against your liability coverages for his damages -- even though he was driving without car insurance.

Uninsured motorist coverages can be used only if the other driver was uninsured and at fault.  If you’re the at-fault driver, then you’re unable to access your uninsured motorist coverage for claims purposes.  If you didn’t have collision coverage, you’d have to pay out-of-pocket for your vehicle to be repaired.

What does uninsured motorist actually cover?

There is a lot of confusion by drivers about what uninsured motorist coverage actually covers. 

First, you need to be aware that there are two types of uninsured motorist coverage. One is for bodily injury, and the other is for property damage

When most people talk about uninsured motorist that they have as part of their policy, it’s for just bodily injury.  This is the type of uninsured motorist coverage offered in most states, and required in many -- 22 to be exact.  It is strictly for bodily injuries sustained from an accident with an at-fault uninsured driver. 

Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) only covers injuries you received, and not your vehicle in any way. 

In your situation, if you were injured you wouldn't have been able to file against your UMBI coverage because you were at fault.  If the uninsured driver had been the one at fault, then your medical expenses would have been covered up to your UMBI coverage limit.

Some states laws and/or insurance company guidelines say that UMBI coverage will extend to injuries received in a hit-and-run accident since the other driver is unknown and you thus cannot use that person’s liability bodily injury coverage for medical claims.  But this is really the only exception to requiring the other driver to be uninsured.

Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) covers your vehicle but is not purchased as often as UMBI.  UMPD is only required in eight states and not even offered in several states – such as your home state of Oklahoma.  In such cases, the state insurance department will direct motorists to buy collision to cover a vehicle if it’s in an accident.

Uninsured motorist property damage vs. collision coverage

UMPD is limited coverage; it only helps you if your vehicle is damaged by an at-fault uninsured driver.   

Uninsured motorist property damage can come with a limit and a deductible. For example, in the District of Columbia, the limit is $5,000, and it comes with a $200 deductible. 

Collision coverage is a better choice of coverage for your vehicle.  It covers your vehicle if it hits, or is hit by, another vehicle or object – regardless of fault.  And, collision insurance covers your vehicle up its actual cash value if your car is deemed to be a total loss. 

Collision coverage does come with a deductible, but you choose that amount at the inception of your policy.  This means you can pick a higher deductible and save money on your policy, or choose a lower deductible and pay not as much out of pocket when you make a claim but pay a bit higher premium.

You might see your car insurance rates rise after this accident, and its resulting claims, are taken into account by your car insurance company at your next renewal period.  If that happens, comparison shop for more affordable car insurance premiums.

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