Frequently Asked Questions - What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) Pay For?
In the state of Florida, certain insurances are required in order to operate and own a motor vehicle. The insurance that is required by the state is Personal injury protection and property damage. Personal Injury Protection is the coverage that pays for medical expenses and wage loss, that a person incurs if they are injured in an auto accident no matter who is at fault. Personal injury protection pays up to $10,000 at 80% and wage loss at 60%. Property damage pays up to $10,000 for damages caused to another person’s property but does not pay for repairs to your own vehicle. When purchasing insurance coverage, they are other coverages available that many do not know about or what exactly those coverages may pay for.
Bodily injury coverage is an optional coverage that protects an individual if they cause bodily harm to another person as a result of an accident. This coverage allows an injured person to seek compensation for injuries sustained through an auto accident. Another form of optional coverage that pays for injuries sustained from an accident is Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage. This is an optional coverage that provides compensation to an individual who was injured in an accident that was caused by another person.
However, if a person has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person and they do not carrier bodily injury coverage, the injured person who was not at fault has the right to seek compensation for the injuries sustained through the use of their own uninsured motorist coverage. When a person has been injured from an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person who either has bodily injury coverage but carries a minimal amount or they do not carry the coverage and would then consider uninsured, the injured party may seek compensation for those injuries sustained. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for reasonable medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. This coverage also protects an individual when they are involved in a hit and run accident and are not able to obtain insurance information for the person who caused the accident. Having this coverage gives the injured person the opportunity to seek compensation for the bodily harm that was caused to them as a result of another person’s negligence.
The individuals entitled to seek the uninsured motorist coverage are anyone injured as the result of an accident they did not cause and the passengers in the vehicle that was not at fault which carries the uninsured motorist coverage. In order to seek this additional compensation, the injured person has to present a claim to the at-fault insurance carrier for the limits of the bodily injury coverage. The injured person has to prove that the other person was at fault and caused them to have a permanent injury for the rest of their life. Once they have successfully obtained the limits of the bodily injury coverage then they can seek additional compensation against their own uninsured motorist coverage. If they are not able to obtain, the complete bodily injury limits then an uninsured motorist claim cannot be made. When presenting an uninsured motorist claim the injured person has to prove that the bodily injury coverage paid the complete limits of the policy or the at-fault person did not carry bodily injury coverage. They also have to prove they were injured as a result of the accident that was caused by the negligence of another person and that they will have this injury for the result of their lives.
Most of the time when purchasing insured individuals are not given a detailed explanation of what additional coverages are available and what they pay for because a lot of the time it is cheaper for the insurance company to not afford certain coverages like Uninsured motorist because it means they have to pay out on more claims.
When applying for insurance individuals usually just want what is the cheapest most affordable coverage that meets the state requirement without knowing that they are opting out of coverage that would protect themselves and families from harm caused by an accident. At the time to decide what insurance fits best is to read over and all the documentation that is provided.
Many individuals when applying for insurance do not read the paperwork and just sign off without knowing what they are accepting or denying. If a person does not want to purchase the additional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, they have to sign a UM/UIM selection rejection form. This form indicated if the person does want to purchase the optional uninsured motorist coverage they would select the amount they are wanting to purchase, whether they want stacking or non-stacking or if they want to reject the coverage altogether.
If the insured signs stating they want to reject uninsured motorist it is very important for the insurance company to make sure they have it in their records, because if a person is injured as a result of an accident that was caused by another person and they selected to reject the uninsured motorist coverage but the insurance company cannot locate the proof then that person is entitled to uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of bodily injury coverage they purchased on their policy. This can only happen if the person has a bodily injury on their policy and the UM rejection form cannot be found. However, if the person does not have bodily injury, they cannot have UM so that would not apply. In order to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage the insured needs to purchase bodily injury coverage. A person can have bodily injury coverage and reject uninsured motorist coverage, or they can reject both and not carrier either coverage. However, an individual cannot purchase uninsured motorist coverage alone.
It is important to be protected and to have strong insurance if anything were to happen to you or your family. Florida is a state where many accidents occur and very little coverages are required to operate a vehicle. It's better to carry additional coverage and never use it than to need it and not have the option to use it.