Do I Need Uninsured Motorist (UM)Coverage?
Our Orlando Insurance Attorneys Explain
If someone is injured in an automobile collision in the United States the chances are about one in seven that the driver at fault is uninsured. According to a recent Insurance Research Council (IRC) study, the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists increased nationally from 12.7% in 1999 to 14.6% in 2004. However, in Florida the likelihood is almost one in five that the at-fault driver is uninsured. Florida is one of the states with the highest uninsured driver populations with 19% of its drivers without liability coverage.
I have no fault insurance (PIP) so why do I need uninsured motorist coverage?
PIP or no fault coverage is mandatory and carries a $10,000 limit in Florida but the term “no fault” can be confusing. It is used to describe an insurance system in which each driver’s own insurance company pays for their driver’s losses, regardless of fault and typically provides payment for a portion of the medical expenses and lost wages, as well as some out-of-pocket expenses. However, there are many types of losses suffered in more serious collisions that are not covered by your no fault benefits.
Uninsured motorists coverage becomes important when you or your passengers are injured in a collision caused by a driver who has no bodily injury liability insurance coverage, or insufficient bodily injury liability coverage. Your uninsured motorists coverage covers the following expenses: medical expenses and lost wages not fully paid by your no fault coverage, future medical expenses and future wage losses, and non-economic damages such as disability, pain and suffering, and the loss of ability to enjoy life. Also, this coverage ‘travels’ with you, providing protection for these losses even if you are not in your own insured vehicle.
Insurance companies who sell insurance in Florida are required to offer uninsured motorists coverage but this coverage is not mandatory and you may reject this coverage. If you choose to have uninsured motorists coverage and you want to insure multiple cars, you must select the same limit for each car. Also, the limits you choose for your uninsured motorists coverage can be no more than the limits of your bodily injury liability coverage.
The number of vehicles insured also affects your uninsured motorists coverage. Your uninsured motorists policy limits for each motor vehicle described on your policy are added together (stacked) to equal the total amount of uninsured motorists coverage available to you. For example, if you request $100,000/200,000 in bodily injury limits, and you have two vehicles insured on your policy, you have $200,000/400,000 in total UM coverage (100/200 times 2). Many people who have uninsured motorists coverage do not realize they can get higher limits. Simply purchasing the minimum uninsured motorists limits offered by your company does not provide you with “full” coverage.
It is obvious that a good number of drivers on Florida’s highways do not carry liability insurance and many who do have this coverage have very low limits. Most insurance agents fail to adequately explain the importance of this affordable low cost coverage. Uninsured motorists coverage should be considered one of the most important pieces of your self-protection insurance package.
If you are hurt in a car accident or if you are having problems with your insurance claims, please contact an Orlando insurance lawyer at Wooten, Kimbrough and Normand, P.A. Call 1-800-235-7060 to schedule a free consultation today.