How Important is it to Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida?
Author: Attorney Jay Kanter
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will cover bodily injury claims where the party responsible for the accident does not carry bodily injury coverage OR does not have enough bodily injury coverage to pay for injuries they caused. It is extremely important to purchase Uninsured Bodily Injury coverage in Florida. Florida Law does not require vehicle owners to purchase bodily injury coverage. This is the insurance needed to compensate injured victims of an auto accident when a driver is at fault. The only insurance required to get tags on a vehicle is PIP and property damage coverage. In the event that you are injured by someone with no bodily injury coverage or insufficient coverage the only way to be properly compensated is by making a UM claim against your own auto insurance policy.
Important Benefits Afforded by UM Coverage
1. Covers injury and lost wage claims that exceed the coverage of the responsible driver. This includes pain, suffering, disfigurement, scarring as well as economic damages and out of pocket medical expenses.
2. Covers injury claims sustained in a hit and run accident where the fleeing driver was at fault for the accident.
3. Provides coverage for all members of your family that reside in your household, regardless of what car they are in when injured by an uninsured driver.
All in all, UM coverage is one of the most important coverages to purchase when insuring your vehicle. If a head of household or main breadwinner in the family is severely injured and unable to work for a period of time, UM benefits may be the only source of compensation to rely on, unless the at-fault party has significant bodily injury limits. With the current state of automobile insurance requirements in Florida, it is not prudent to expect that the responsible party will carry enough insurance to compensate a victim of a serious injury claim.
Case on Point Where Lack of UM Cost Our Client $100,000.00
Currently, I have a client who was involved in a serious auto accident. He suffered a severe knee injury and was scheduled for surgery within days of the accident. The driver who caused the accident only had a $10,000.00 bodily injury policy and no assets. Unfortunately, our client, a 65 year-old man from Boca Raton, FL did not carry UM coverage. He had $100,000.00 of bodily injury coverage but dropped his UM coverage to save about $100.00. If he maintained his UM policy, he easily would have settled his claim for the policy limits of $110,000.00. Unfortunately, without UM coverage he will now get only $10,000.00, which will leave him with virtually nothing after medical expenses. In his words, “I am kicking myself” for not having UM coverage, as I never thought I would need it. In conclusion, insured drivers should not take the risk of driving in Florida without UM coverage.