Frequently Asked Questions - Is It Worth It To Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
With so many drivers on the road it is always important to be prepared should you find yourself the victim of an auto accident. It can sometimes be confusing when deciding which options to choose for your auto policy coverage as some states require more coverage than others.
The state of Florida only requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage on their auto policy such as PIP (personal injury protection, coverage that pays on your own medical bills) and property damage (coverage for the other parties’ vehicle damage). It does not require an individual to carry BI (bodily injury coverage) on their policy. Bodily injury coverage is the coverage available to you when someone else causes the accident. For this reason, it is very important to be prepared and elect to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, Coverage on your Auto Policy.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, often referred to as UM coverage, is extra coverage on your auto policy that protects you should you get into an auto accident with someone who does not have any bodily injury coverage or enough bodily injury coverage to take care of you. Some people may think that if they have the minimum auto coverage that the state of Florida requires (10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and 10,000 in Property Damage) then they have full coverage. Yes, you may have what the state requires but you may not have enough coverage to protect yourself or your loved ones if the event that they are hurt in an auto accident. Unfortunately, there are times when an auto accident may result in serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, missed time from work, change in family dynamics, or lifestyle. For this reason, it is very important to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy. If you find yourself in a situation where you are involved with a driver in an auto accident with no fault of your own and that driver does not carry any bodily injury coverage or a very minimal bodily injury coverage policy then you have peace of mind to know that you are covered to receive the medical treatment you may need because you were prepared and opted to carry Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy.
Another important aspect of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is that it also covers you as a passenger in another vehicle and covers any passengers in your car in the event that you are in an accident. So what that means is if you are involved in an accident as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle and that driver carries Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage on their policy is that you would eligible for the UM coverage under their policy as well as the UM under your own policy. Every time you drive or travel in a vehicle you take a risk of an accident. Statistics show that more and more people/families are continuing to move to Florida each week whether it be for the Sunshine, Theme Parks, or just the perfect place to settle down and retire. With more and more people moving to an area there will always be the need for progression, such as new housing developments, new buildings, and roadway construction. Since we all come from different lifestyles whether, by choice or affordability, some people may choose not to purchase bodily injury coverage or simply not have the means to afford bodily injury coverage.
If you choose not to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage on your policy and get into an accident, it could be devastating and life-altering. It could be a situation where you are forced to decide to not receive medical treatment or even a much-needed surgery due to no insurance coverage to allow for that treatment. This could have life-changing effects on your family and overall, wellbeing. For all of these reasons, it is very important to know that your family is protected because you opted to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and that you choose the correct amount of coverage for you and your family's personal needs on your policy. As a rule, your auto insurance company will only allow you to purchase Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist Coverage in the amount equal to or less than the amount of the bodily injury coverage on your auto policy. For example, if you carry Bodily Injury Coverage in the amount of 50,000 on your auto policy you would only be allowed to purchase up to 50,000 in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage on your policy. Another option you have is to decide if you want to be stacked or non-stacked UM coverage on your policy. This will come into play if you have more than one vehicle on your policy. You can elect to choose UM coverage on each of your vehicles and you can elect to have that UM coverage stacked depending on the number of vehicles you have on your policy.
It is possible to sue or go after an underinsured motorist driver depending on their personal assets but it is also important to know that most individuals that do not carry any Bodily Injury coverage on their auto policy or a minimum bodily injury coverage amount possibly do not have assets of any value so it would be difficult to collect on any court-imposed judgment. It is also important to check to see if the owner of the vehicle is different from the driver of the vehicle as you will want to check their assets as well if they do not have any coverage available on their policy. This type of case may require a different type of attorney and different fees. A personal injury attorney charges on a contingency basis meaning they do not get paid if you do not get paid (receive a settlement) where other types of attorneys charge on an hourly fee or a flat rate regardless of the potential outcome. So before making selections on your auto policy think carefully about you and your family in what you may need before making selections and also think very carefully about the attorney you choose to protect your choices.