By: Matthew Foster
I quickly realized that fact when I began handling personal injury cases 25 years ago. Numerous people came into my office in situations where some uninsured driver ran a stop sign or was driving recklessly, causing them injuries ranging from broken bones to the death of a family member. Unfortunately, many of these people had no real remedy because they had not purchased uninsured motorist coverage. This happened even when my clients had purchased car insurance which they thought would cover them. How can this happen? The answer is that they had not purchased uninsured motorist coverage. Had they carried this type of insurance, their lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering would likely have been covered and they would have been properly reimbursed. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize this fact until it was too late.
In regard to injuries, Florida law currently only requires that drivers purchase personal injury protection (P.I.P). This covers 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages and only goes up to $10,000.00 total coverage. This amount will be quickly exhausted if you sustain serious injuries. Many people also carry what’s called bodily injury or liability insurance. This type of insurance covers you only in the event that you injure someone else through the negligent operation of your motor vehicle. However, if you are injured through the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver, your bodily injury or liability coverage, will not cover your losses. That is why you need uninsured motorist coverage.
This type of coverage insures that your losses will be covered if someone without insurance or without sufficient insurance injures you by driving carelessly. This is important as there are a large number of people driving without any insurance or with insufficient insurance. Florida law does not require bodily injury or liability insurance. By purchasing an adequate amount of uninsured motorist coverage, you are insuring that you will be covered regardless of whether that person had insurance. It provides critical coverage even if the at fault driver is uninsured or underinsured by protecting all relatives who live with you and it covers all auto related accidents (even if you are a pedestrian or on a bus). And it’s cheaper than most auto coverages!!
It’s easy! Under Florida law, insurance companies have to make uninsured motorist coverage available to you. The only limitation is that you cannot purchase more uninsured motorist coverage than you have in bodily injury/liability coverage. For example, if you currently carry $100,000 of liability insurance, your insurance company must allow you to purchase up to $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. While purchasing uninsured motorist coverage will raise your premiums, it is money well spent because it protects you and your family. Uninsured motorist coverage is less expensive than liability coverage, but it is much more comprehensive. If you have multiple vehicles in your family, you can stack your uninsured motorist coverage, which increases your uninsured motorist coverage by the number of vehicles you insure.
I have already urged my family, friends and clients to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, and hope that you do as well. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use your uninsured motorist coverage, but if you find yourself the victim of another person’s carelessness, you will be glad you did. Please feel free to call us if you have any additional questions about uninsured motorist coverage. You have too much at stake to call anyone else!!