Uninsured motorist insurance may not cover what you think - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Uninsured motorist insurance may not cover what you think

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A Glendale man is confused over a specific coverage on his auto insurance policy. He thought uninsured motorist coverage protected his vehicle but it absolutely does not.

Make no mistake, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be very valuable, but if you think it pays for anything related to your vehicle, you would be wrong.

Kent Myers' truck is fixed now but it was in bad shaped last month. Myers says a man, in a car chase with police, smashed into his truck causing thousands of dollars in damage.

"When DPS (Department of Public Safety) was interviewing him, they found out he did not have an insurance card, did not have insurance, didn't have a driver's license," Myers said.

The police report found the other driver to be at fault and repair estimates were up to $6000. Myers doesn't have collision coverage on his paid-off truck but he was certain his insurance would pay to fix the damage through the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM and UIM) he does have. He soon found out from his insurer that's not what UM or UIM covers.

"Said it doesn't cover damage to your car, what it covers is major medical," Myers said.

UM-UIM covers injuries to you or people in your car if you're hit by a driver with no or not enough insurance. Myers says he only purchased the coverage because he believed it covered damage to his vehicle if he was hit by a similar driver, but that's never been the case.

"The uninsured and underinsured strictly covers bodily damage; not property damage," Myers said.

It also pays for lost wages, even a death, but drivers need to understand that UM-UIM never pays for damage to their vehicle.

"I've already talked to a number of people who have been under that impression and I've told them, not in Arizona, it doesn't work that way," Myers said.

Most states handle uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage the same way.

So bottom line: If your vehicle is paid-off, but you still want your insurance to pay for accident damage, keep your collision coverage.

UM-UIM can be valuable injury coverage. It pays for all your out-of-pocket medical expenses up to the policy limit, with no deductibles or copays like regular health insurance, just don't think it ever pays for your car.

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