Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (and whether or not you need it), explained.
Imagine you’re rear-ended coming home from the store. Luckily, there’s not a scratch on you. But it’s a different story for your car: the bumper is a mess, the trunk won’t latch, and the rear wheels are making a funny noise.
After checking to make sure the people in the other car are okay, you discover the driver at fault has no insurance. Do you know who will pay for the damages to your vehicle?
Uninsured drivers on the road: a risk you can’t see
In 2017, the U.S. Census found that 8.8 of drivers, nationally, are driving without car insurance. In some states, like Florida, New Mexico, and Mississippi, the rates were higher than 20 percent.
States and Territories with the Highest Percentage of Uninsured Motorists (2015)
|State||Percentage of Uninsured Motorists|
Source: Insurance Research Council
If you drive in one of the states with the highest rate of uninsured drivers, then one in five drivers you encounter on the road are uninsured. But even in the state with the lowest uninsured motorist rate, Maine, 4.5 percent of drivers are estimated to be uninsured. That’s still more than 1 in 25!
Protecting your property from loss due to an uninsured driver is an important piece to your insurance program. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) is a useful coverage option available to most drivers who want to protect their property. But it’s not the only one. Read on to learn if UMPD is right for your insurance plan.
No matter what kind of auto insurance coverage you need, Insurify can help you find and purchase the best deal. Check out our quote comparison tool to discover your best rate today.
What is Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage(UMPD)?
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage insurance is meant to cover the costs of repairing your property if an uninsured driver hits your car. In the business, this is known as “making you whole.” Your property includes your vehicle, but in some cases may extend to other property in the car, like a cell phone.
Coverage limits for UMPD are different for each state but typically mirror minimum liability coverage. This means that if your state set $10,000 as the minimum property damage liability, UMPD covers up to $10,000.
UMPD may cover damages to your vehicle when it’s involved in a hit-and-run accident. With some policies, the at-fault driver must be identified before your insurance company will pay. So be sure to ask about your coverage for hit-and-run when you speak to your agent.
In many states, UMPD may also protect your property if an underinsured driver hits you. If so, you’re covered if the property damage you sustain is higher than the property limits on the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. UMPD kicks in to cover the difference.
As a quick note, in some states, coverage like this might be known as Underinsured Motorist coverage or UIM. Speak with an insurance representative about how your state and/or current provider defines it.
What UMPD is not
UMPD is often confused with Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage, also known as UMBI. This coverage, as the name suggests, pays for medical expenses, but it doesn’t stop there. UMBI also covers lost wages and loss due to pain and suffering. Both UMBI and UMPD are important components of Uninsured Motorist Insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage is also different from collision insurance in a few critical ways.
First, a UMPD claim generally won’t raise your premiums because you are not the driver at fault.
Second, it only covers damage to your car if it’s hit by an uninsured (sometimes underinsured) driver. It doesn’t cover Acts of God (that’s comprehensive coverage) or car accidents where you are found at fault (that’s collision coverage).
Where are UMPD laws in place?
As with most things insurance, Uninsured Motorist Property Damage insurance laws vary significantly from state to state. Some states don’t allow such riders, while others require it. And among the states that require UMPD, the minimum coverage may vary as well.
In some states, UMPD coverage doesn’t cover hit-and-runs unless the driver at fault is discovered. In some states, like Maryland and Virginia, drivers are required to pay a deductible. The limits required by each state vary. However, they will often mirror the limit set for liability property damage.
UMPD is required, and required to cover underinsured property damage, in Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Vermont; and Virginia. In New Hampshire, if you choose to purchase insurance at all, you’ll also be required to buy UMPD. Not only that, but the UMPD coverage must also extend to the underinsured.
UMPD is required but is not required to cover the underinsured drivers, in Georgia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia. If you live in one of these states, speak to your insurance representative about how to best protect your property.
While in Utah, drivers who don’t have collision coverage must carry a UMPD rider from their insurance provider.
UMPD is optional if available in the remaining states, with several variables. The most popular is that, though not required to purchase UMPD, drivers must reject the rider in writing. This is true in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Washington.
In Illinois and Deleware, drivers must be offered an Uninsured Motorist Property Damage rider, but they’re not required to purchase it. But in Delaware, if drivers accept Uninsured Motorist coverage, it must include UMPD.
Coverage is optional, without the need to send a letter, in Colorado, Mississippi, Ohio, and Wyoming. If your state isn’t listed, it’s likely because no laws specifically cover Uninsured Motorist Property Damage in your state. Be sure to speak with your agent about protecting yourself from uninsured and underinsured motorists.
Do you need Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance?
In states where it’s legally required, yes, you’ll need to purchase UMPD. Insurify will take this rider into account when showing your quoting data. You can be sure to receive insurance quotes that reflect all the components of coverage you require.
But what if you live in a state where Uninsured Motorist Property Damage is optional? The decision is up to you. To help uncover the option that works best for you, here are a few considerations:
First, the state of your property: is your vehicle worth insuring? If you’re driving an older car whose value is low, it may make more sense to forgo adding UMPD to your insurance policy. This is because you’re only protected in a limited scenario and the coverage only provides limited assistance.
For example, suppose your car is worth $1,500, and you live in a rural area. The added rider costs an extra $276 a year and only pays out if an uninsured driver damages your car. Your lower likelihood of a claim, plus a small claim amount, makes this option less critical.
On the other hand, you may have collision insurance that already covers your car in the event of a hit-and-run or other uninsured motorist accident. In this case, you may not need the extra rider to cover you. Just be sure to speak with your agent about your intentions to ensure you get all the coverage you need.
If you’re considering losing collision, ask yourself if you need UMPD. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage typically costs a lot less than collision coverage. Therefore, it may make sense to keep UMPD over collision, especially if you live somewhere with higher rates of car accidents and/or uninsured motorists.
Bottom Line: The XYZ of UMPD
Beyond following the law, the whole purpose of insurance is to protect you from a devastating loss. Taking an honest look at your finances is the best way to understand how much loss you can withstand—and how much is enough insurance.
Be sure to review your coverage options with your current provider. And whether or not you’re satisfied with your plan, take five minutes to see if you qualify for a better policy with Insurify.