Uninsured motorist coverage is important because many drivers in Florida do not carry any automobile insurance. In addition, many people who do purchase car insurance only buy the minimum personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) coverage. As a result, those policies might not adequately cover your losses.
If you need a way to save money on your insurance expenses, you might want to look elsewhere rather than cut your uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage could help pay for your injuries and other losses if the at-fault party did not buy any or enough automobile insurance. Thus, this optional add-on coverage could save your financial future.
Florida has Bare-Bones Auto Insurance Requirements
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the minimum coverage our state requires to register a car or truck is $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in PDL coverage. Unfortunately, many people let their policies lapse after registering their vehicle, so they would not have even this meager amount of coverage.
A person who drives without insurance in Florida could face suspension of their driver’s license and registration for up to three years. In addition, the individual might have to pay a fee of up to $500 to get their driver’s license and registration reinstated after they obtain automobile insurance.
The State of Uninsured Drivers in Florida
The Insurance Research Council estimates that more than 20 percent of drivers in Florida were uninsured in 2019. The estimated uninsured motorist rate for the entire country was 12.6 percent. Only five states had worse rates of uninsured motorists than Florida.
With so many uninsured drivers on Florida roads, it would be prudent to protect yourself from financial ruin by carrying uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Many Americans file for bankruptcy every year because of medical bills they cannot afford to pay. In a split second, someone else’s negligence could leave you with devastating injuries and lifelong impairment.
Why PIP Insurance Is Often Inadequate
Florida Statutes § 627.736 requires drivers to maintain PIP insurance on their motor vehicles. If the at-fault driver has PIP coverage, that insurance does not provide any benefits to you. Florida is a “no-fault” auto accident state, meaning people generally do not have to pay for the harm they cause to others.
Your PIP coverage is likely to be grossly inadequate to pay for your damages if you sustain catastrophic injuries in a collision. Florida only requires PIP coverage of $10,000 for medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits. However, $10,000 might not even cover the trip to the emergency room if you suffer severe injuries.
How Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Works
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage could help pay for your injuries if the at-fault driver did not carry any automobile insurance (uninsured) or purchased an insufficient amount of coverage (underinsured) to cover your losses. Instead, you can select much higher coverage limits with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage than you will likely find available with PIP coverage.
For example, many people buy 100/300/100 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that has limits of $100,000 for a single injury or death, $300,000 total for multiple people injured or killed, and $100,000 for property damage. These limits are more realistic for medical treatment and vehicle replacement costs than PIP coverage provides.
Who Can Collect Benefits Under an Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Policy
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can offer protection in a wide variety of situations:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance is inadequate to cover your losses.
- The liable driver does not carry any insurance.
- You sustained injuries in a hit-and-run accident, and the police cannot locate the driver who illegally left the scene. Insurance companies treat hit-and-run collisions like uninsured motorist accidents because no insured person is present at the scene.
- Passengers riding in your vehicle could qualify for compensation under your uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage generally covers you and your family members who suffer injuries when riding in your vehicle or driving or riding in someone else’s vehicle.
- You do not have to be in a vehicle for uninsured motorist coverage to protect you. If you or your family members get struck by a motor vehicle when riding a bicycle or on foot, uninsured motorist coverage can cover the damages.
With so many advantages, it is easy to see why many Floridians choose to buy uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Get Help After an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine represent people who suffer injuries due to others’ carelessness. We are a “high-touch” law firm, meaning we go the extra mile for our clients. We are happy to offer a free initial consultation with no obligation. You can call us today at 1-800-747-3733 to get started.
We Can Help.