Hi, I’m attorney Fran Haasch. And with me today, I have Professor Carl Hynes. We’d like to talk to you today about the importance of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. I realize that this is not the most exciting topic, but in my opinion, UM coverage is the most important insurance you can buy to protect you and your family if you’re involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. In the state of Florida, bodily injury coverage is not mandatory, and you can’t rely on the at-fault party in an accident to carry bodily injury coverage or enough bodily injury coverage to protect you. It’s heartbreaking to tell a client that we’re unable to help him or her because the at-fault party does not carry bodily injury coverage. UM coverage is insurance you can purchase to protect yourself and your family. But the actual party has no bodily injury or not enough bodily injury insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Thank you for watching, and if you have any questions, please give me a call at (866) law-fran. I’d love to talk to you. And so would professor Carl Hynes.
Do you really need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Accidents happen every day. And when they do, you want to make sure that you are fully compensated for the damages and injuries you have suffered. Many drivers choose to go without insurance, or they carry only the minimum amount of coverage required by their state. This means that if you are involved in an accident with one of these drivers, you could be left footing the bill for your own damages and injuries.
Accidents are stressful enough when you’re dealing with someone with insurance, but when the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages, it can be even more stressful. And while Florida has a minimum car insurance requirement, all drivers do not carry it. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, at 26%, Florida has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the country, making being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured more likely.
This is where uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage comes in. If you have this type of coverage on your auto insurance policy, you will be protected if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the damages they have caused.
5 Reasons to Carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
1.) UM Helps You If the Other Driver Has No Insurance
If you are involved in an accident with a driver that doesn’t have insurance and you’ve exhausted your PIP insurance, you can turn to your UM policy for coverage. While UM may not cover all of your expenses, it will help to cover some of the damages and prevent you from spending too much on out-of-pocket costs.
2.) UIM Helps You If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Insurance
Underinsured drivers may only purchase the minimum amount of insurance required by Florida law, which usually isn’t enough to cover damages related to an accident. For example, Florida only requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. Florida also only requires drivers to carry bodily injury liability under certain circumstances.
If a driver with low coverage limits hits you and causes a serious injury, it’s likely that their policy won’t cover all of your expenses. In this case, your underinsured motorist coverage would kick in and help cover the difference, up to your policy limit.
3.) UM/UIM Helps Protect You From Financial Hardship
UM/UIM coverage is important because it can help you avoid financial ruin in the event of an accident. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you could face significant medical bills, lost wages, and other costs.
Even with Florida’s minimum requirement of personal injury protection, you may need additional coverage to help cover the rest of your expenses related to the accident. Having UM/UIM coverage will help ensure that you are protected financially in an accident.
4.) UM/UIM coverage generally pays for:
- Ongoing and long-term medical treatment
- Medical equipment (such as wheelchairs)
- Loss of income/wages
- Lost or reduced earning ability (disability)
- Pain and suffering
5.) UIM/UM Coverage Helps You in Hit-and-Run Car Accidents
In hit-and-run accidents, it can be difficult to identify the at-fault driver. If the driver is not identified, there’s no insurance company to file a claim with, and you may be left to pay for your own damages. This is where uninsured motorist coverage can help. Even if the driver who hit you is not identified, your insurance company may still be able to provide you with compensation through your UM coverage, up to your policy limit.
By having the appropriate amount of coverage for bodily injury, you protect yourself and loved ones from what can be catastrophic financial consequences.
“I am always saddened to have to turn away a severely injured potential client because there is not any insurance available to compensate them for their injuries and losses. I urge all of you reading this article today to pull out your bike and auto insurance policies and make sure that you are adequately protected in the unfortunate event you are the victim of an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is the most important coverage for motorcyclists to carry. UM coverage provides compensation to you for damages to you caused by someone who carries little or no liability insurance or if you are injured by a “hit and run” driver. I have many people tell me that they don’t believe they need UM coverage because they have health insurance. Health insurance is not enough. In addition to medical bills, damages that an accident victim may sustain include lost wages and pain and suffering.
Many people are surprised to find out after they are a victim of an accident that Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury coverage, therefore, the chances of being injured by someone without liability insurance are substantial.
In the event that you are injured by someone with little or no insurance, you are able to make a claim with your UM carrier to be compensated for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you carry liability insurance, your insurance company has to offer you the same amount of UM coverage. Always consider purchasing the highest amount of UM offered to you. Clients are always surprised to find out how quickly their medical bills can escalate into the thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Also, if you insure one or more bikes or automobiles through the same insurance carrier you may opt for stacked UM coverage, which means that your UM limits can be multiplied by the number of vehicles insured under the policy. Stacking your UM coverage is relatively inexpensive and is one of the best ways to “get more bang for your buck.”
Protect yourself and your loved ones. Check your policy today and make sure that you are carrying adequate insurance coverage. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or need any additional information regarding a motorcycle or automobile accident please contact our office at (727) 784-8191 or 866-LAW-FRAN. We will be happy to answer your questions free of charge. “
Attorney Fran Haasch