Frequently Asked Questions - Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM) Necessary?
The dictionary definition of necessary is “required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential” according to Merrian-Webster. In the state of Florida, the laws regarding what is the required coverages to operate a motor vehicle are that an individual is not obligated to carry uninsured motorist coverage or any form of liability coverage on their personal auto policy. I strongly believe that this type of coverage should be necessary, and Florida should change their laws when it comes to what should be considered essential for auto coverage. This is an optional coverage that many people have no knowledge about what this coverage provides and usually choose to reject this form of coverage when purchasing insurance.
Many individuals are not educated or given the proper explanation of the different types of auto insurance coverage that is available for purchase when speaking to their insurance agent. Many people want to pay as little as possible for auto insurance because of yourself and your family. Paying for the protection from an unforeseeable event. In my opinion, it is better to pay for something and never use it than to need it and not have it available as an option.
Uninsured motorist coverage is necessary because it protects individuals and their families from injuries sustained in an auto accident that was caused by the negligence of a careless or unsafe driver. Many people simply purchase the state minimum requirement, and think they have “full coverage”, then once they are involved in an accident, they come to learn that the tortfeasor carried no Bodily Injury and they rejected the uninsured motorist coverage and are left with tons of medical bills that they will not be compensated for. They are carrying full coverage, the full required coverage according to Florida law. A person should not rely on the coverage they think another individual should carry.
When a person has something they care for, they should want to protect it. Uninsured motorist coverage protects the non-at-fault party if they are injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another individual and that person either: A) doesn’t carrier injury liability coverage or B) they do have it but have a very minimal amount which makes them think they are paying for something they won’t have to use. However, that is what insurance is for and why it is important to make sure you are getting the best available coverage to protect against uninsured or underinsured motorists when and the funds are not enough to cover the injured person’s medical expenses, wage loss, and pain/suffering as a direct result of said negligence. This coverage comes from the injured parties’ own insurance coverage in the form of compensation for medical bills, wage loss, and pain/suffering. I believe insurance agents should better explain all types of coverages available for purchase and once the individual has been given all the information then at that point they should decide whether it is worth the extra couple hundred dollars to spend to make sure they are adequately protected in case they are found in a situation that there is no insurance coverage available for the injuries that were caused to them. It is better to make sure you are protected than to get into a horrific accident, and someone loses a limb or dies just to find out there is no liability coverage available. If there is no liability coverage available and the injured person does not have uninsured motorist coverage they can sue the person directly; however, it may be difficult to recover funds as they may have no assets and file for bankruptcy. At that point, you may have received a judgment, but now must endure legal costs to collect on the judgment and still have outstanding medical bills.
One example of a horrific, but true accident, a young man wanted to show off to his friends in a brand-new BMW in a residential area where the posted speed limit was somewhere near 35 miles per hour. He decided to go over the speed limit by over three times the posted limit. At this time, two young girls were exiting a neighborhood and judged the distance between them and the BMW and decided they had plenty of time to exit the neighborhood because the BMW should have been traveling at a much slower rate. The two young girls were ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene from the severe force of impact. The driver of the BMW had two friends with him, and they did suffer significantly but non-life-threatening injures. The only coverage that was available for the family of those young girls that lost their lives and the two other injured passengers was the $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury coverage that the owner of the BMW had purchased. There is no amount of money that will help deal with the pain of losing a loved one. Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would have made an impactful difference for those individuals and their families during such a tragic loss.
Another example of how not uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage having affected someone in an accident, this person was crossing through an intersection when the at-fault person ran a red light and T-boned him. The EMTs and firefighters had to use the jaws of life to remove him from the vehicle because his vehicle was so damaged from the impact. They were rushed to the hospital with severe injuries such as fractured ribs and needed surgery on his arm. After the claims were reported the young injured person find out that the person who impacted him only had the state minimum which was only Personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage. The injured person also finds out that he only carried the state minimum also. There was no coverage available to compensate him for the severe injuries he sustained from this accident.
In time, hopefully, laws while change and make it so liability and uninsured motorist coverage are required in the state of Florida in a larger amount than the minimum $10,000 now available.