Posted By Alan Sackrin on July 29, 2014
Last Update: 01/07/16
In Florida, you have to have some kind of car insurance. It’s the law.
However, Florida law only requires a driver to have an auto insurance policy which provides “PIP coverage” of $10,000 (a/k/a Personal Injury Protection insurance). This is standard no-fault insurance coverage that covers medical care and lost wages for someone hurt in a Florida car crash.
This is the minimum car insurance coverage you can purchase, and it does not cover many damages that can happen in a Florida traffic accident. PIP is a legal requirement established to protect people in the most basic way possible.
Which means, there can be a tremendous amount of damage in a crash that isn’t covered by PIP. Even worse, there are lots of people driving cars in Florida that don’t even have that minimum, legally required PIP policy.
The problem for many is when they are hurt in a car crash and there’s NO coverage.
When you are hurt in a traffic accident, then you will want to know about “bodily injury liability coverage.” Florida law does not make anyone buy this.
Bodily injury liability insurance (“BI”) coverage covers the costs and expenses of medical care after an accident. However, BI coverage does NOT cover the person who owns that insurance policy, it is coverage for others in the accident.
You buy it to cover injuries to the Other Guy.
Which is fine if everyone in the accident has good car insurance.
If there is a crash and all the drivers have good coverage, no problem. However, if you are in a wreck with someone who has NO insurance, or a minimum amount of coverage, what happens?
Your policy with its “bodily injury liability coverage” will not cover your injuries. Meanwhile, the other driver who caused the crash, being someone who cannot afford to buy auto insurance, probably does not have enough assets to be worth a lawsuit filed against them to force them to cover your damages.
Which is why having UM insurance coverage in Florida is important.
Underinsured / Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM Insurance)
In Florida, most drivers buy automobile insurance policies that include something called “underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.” It’s also called “UM Insurance” and all insurance companies offer this coverage to Florida drivers.
What UM insurance does is protect drivers who are in car crashes where they are not at fault and suffer serious damages, physically, emotionally, and financially.
It protects the driver from accidents where a negligent driver causes a crash but does not have any accident insurance, or doesn’t have enough.
Usually, the “bodily insurance coverage” amount is mirrored in insurance policy language that provides the person buying the policy with the same amount as “underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage” for their own damages in a motor vehicle accident.
Why is it important?
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage protects Florida drivers and their families in accidents where negligent drivers cause serious injury and have failed to purchase insurance to protect victims in the wreck.
It protects you if you are in an accident where the other driver, who is at fault and caused the crash, either does not have any car insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage to cover your damages.
It’s Smart to Have UM Coverage on Your Florida Car Insurance Policy
Our offices recommend that Florida drivers make sure they have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) as part of their automobile insurance policy. Without it, if you are unfortunate enough to be hit by a negligent driver here in Florida, then you may face the additional bad luck and unexpected consequence of having no insurance coverage to cover things like doctor bills and medical expenses as well as lost wages and other things like pain and suffering.
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in an accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.