Frequently Asked Questions - How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should I Get?
In the state of Florida, uninsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage that protects vehicle owners and their family if they sustain injuries in an accident that was caused by a negligent driver. This optional coverage allows an injured person to present a claim to their insurance company to seek compensation for injuries that were the direct result of an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence and that person either does not carry bodily injury insurance or they do have it but have purchased a minimal amount of insurance that will not cover all the medical expenses incurred. An uninsured motorist claim cannot be made if the policy holder is at fault for the accident because they caused their own injuries, for example if they hit a tree or light pole.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for reasonable medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering. This is secondary insurance that is paid from your insurance once a claim has been presented to the at fault insurance company. An injured person can seek compensation if the at fault carrier does not carry bodily injury coverage or they do not carry enough to cover the medical expenses incurred by the injured person.
When purchasing the uninsured motorist coverage, it comes in several different values. It is represented with the use of two numbers for explained $10,000/$20,000, which represent that the uninsured motorist insurance company will pay up to $10,000 to one person injured from an accident and up to $20,000 for the entire accident for two or more injured individuals. After the amount of coverage is chosen then the type of uninsured motorist needs to be decided whether its stacked or non-stacked. Stacked means that you can add up the amount of insurance you purchased for each vehicle covered in the policy, or that the amount of uninsured motorist on the policy is multiplied by the number of vehicles listed on the policy and non-stacked is only the vehicle that uninsured motorist was purchased for has uninsured motorist coverage, no matter how many vehicles are on the vehicle policy. For example, a person has uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000/$50,000 but it is stacked by two vehicles on the policy, so they have $50,000 for one individual injured and $100,000 for the entire accident.
Typically, uninsured motorist coverage is usually bought in the same amount of bodily injury coverage. However, you can purchase less uninsured motorist coverage, or you can reject the coverage all together. But you cannot purchase uninsured motorist coverage without having purchased bodily injury coverage.
I think many factors come into play when trying to decide how much uninsured motorist to purchase. How much can I afford? Should I get stacked or non-stacked? Do I think this coverage is enough to protect me and my family? How much coverage does my insurance agent recommend? What is the make/model and year of the vehicle?
Once the insured’s questions have been answered they can determine how much to purchase. For example, a young man of 27 with a steady hospitality job with two small children under the age of 10 years old who drives a vehicle that he is still making payments on, I would recommend he purchase about $25,000 stacked uninsured motorist coverage. If for any reason he is involved in an accident, $25,000 should be enough for him to seek medical treatment and receive compensation for medical expenses, any wage loss and pain/suffering because of an accident where he was not at fault.
A different example is a business owner who drives a 2020 Tesla. If this person were involved in an accident, I would recommend a higher policy of either $100,000 or more. A business owner has a lot they need to protect other than just their family they need to protect their assets and can make sure their business can still run in case they suffer a debilitating injury that requires extensive care or surgery and they are not able to successfully run the usual day to day operation of their business. Having the uninsured motorist coverage available to make a claim for injuries would help the business owner to seek compensation.
When purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage, you have to be aware that you cannot purchase more than your bodily injury coverage. What this means is that if you buy a $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury policy, you can not buy more than $10,000 of uninsured coverage. You could always purchase less coverage, for example, if you buy bodily injury coverage for $50,000/$100,000, then you could buy $50,000 for uninsured motorist coverage, or you could be $25,000 or $10,000, but you can not buy more than $50,000. To be on the safe side, you should purchase uninsured motorist coverage in the same amount as your bodily injury coverage. You may never need to use it, but you can rest assured that should you ever be involved in an accident where you are not the at fault driver, that you have peace of mind with the coverage you have to pay for the medical expense, lost wages and pain and suffering that you incur.
When considering the right amount of uninsured motorist coverage to purchase its best to take into account the area where they live. In Florida for example, since bodily injury coverage is not required to make sure the insurance policy has all the coverages needed to protect and individual from an liability or risk of financial instability. For example, purchasing Bodily Injury protects the at fault person from being sued directly from the injured person they will make a claim to the insurance company to seek compensation for injuries that were caused to them by the negligent insured. Purchasing uninsured motorists gives the insured the coverage that is needed to make sure they can receive compensation for the medical expenses they have incurred, any wage loss they have suffered and any pain and suffering they have endured.