As a responsible Florida driver, you purchase the minimum coverage required by law, which is known as “no fault” insurance or Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This mandatory coverage carries a $10,000 limit that can be used for the driver’s losses, regardless of fault. While this can pay some lost wages and medical expenses, the total costs of an accident are often much greater than the coverage provided under PIP. This is especially true if the other driver involved in the accident does not have any insurance or also carries the minimum amount of coverage required by law.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, in 2014 over 15.6 million of Florida’s residents were licensed drivers. An Insurance Research Council Study, looking at the same year, shows that 3.2 million of Florida’s drivers were uninsured, making up more than 10% of the drivers across the nation that drive without coverage. That means if you are in an accident, there is a 20% chance of having an accident with an uninsured motorist. In a serious collision, the doctors’ bills and time off from work can quickly add up to an overwhelming number that far exceeds the coverage provided by PIP. Even if the driver has insurance, his or her policy limits may be so low it would not provide much help with your expenses. This sort of driver is considered to be underinsured.
UM coverage helps pay for present and future medical expenses, future lost wages, lost wages that haven’t been paid by the no fault coverage, and other damages like pain and suffering, loss of consortium (or ability to enjoy life), and disability. So what can be done to protect yourself in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist?
When you purchase an automobile insurance policy, you are often provided a lengthy policy with several forms to sign and date. While drivers are not required to purchase more than the minimum amount of coverage, insurance companies are obligated to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The policy holder is typically given a form on which they choose an option of whether or not they elect UM coverage. The policy limits selected for the UM coverage cannot be greater than the limits of the bodily injury liability coverage. If there is more than one car on the policy, the same limit must be elected for each vehicle.
Electing coverage for all the vehicles in your household can be beneficial in the event of an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. Many policy holders do not realize that if there is more than one vehicle, a driver in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver can “stack” or add together the total amount of uninsured motorist coverage for each car on the policy. So if someone has a policy of $50,000/$100,000 in bodily injury limits, and three vehicles are on the policy with UM coverage, $150,000/$300,000 worth of UM coverage is available to you. In the event of an accident, this sort of coverage can make a world of financial difference to the policy holder and her or his family.
The Florida car accident attorneys at Donaldson & Weston are experienced personal injury attorneys that can assist you with your insurance claims if you have been hurt in an accident. Call our office today at 772-266-5555 or 561-299-3999 for a free, confidential consultation.
Related Blog Posts:
Woman Injured In Florida Car Accident Allowed To Continue Personal Injury Suit, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 25, 2015
Florida First District Court of Appeals Affirms Judgment for Costs Imposed Jointly and Severally Against the At-Fault Driver and Insurer, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 25, 2015
Knowing How a Rejection of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida Affects You and Your Family, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 6, 2015