Florida consistently ranks among the worst states for uninsured motorists. Recent statistics from the Insurance Information Institute found that 20.4 percent of Florida drivers have no auto insurance. That’s the sixth-highest percentage in the country.
The nationwide picture isn’t pretty either. Current data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) show that one in eight drivers in the United States are uninsured.
Why Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Matter?
In Florida, the minimum auto insurance requirements are tiny compared to the losses you might experience after a car accident. Drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for medical expenses and wage loss and $10,000 for property damage. You could blow through that amount in a single hospital stay.
Uninsured motorist insurance (UM) provides an added layer of protection for you. UM coverage will pay for your excess expenses once you’ve exhausted your PIP limits.
Although UM coverage is optional in Florida, the car accident lawyers at Brooks Law Group strongly recommend purchasing as much insurance as you can afford. Your premium will be higher, but the out-of-pocket expenses you could incur if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you may result in severe financial hardships.
Uninsured vs. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
When you buy your auto insurance policy, you’ll hear about uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). So, what’s the difference?
UM applies when drivers have no insurance. It also kicks in if you’re hurt in a hit-and-run accident.
UIM coverage is triggered when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your losses. It can make up for your leftover expenses once your PIP benefits are paid.
UM and UIM can pay for damages like medical expenses, lost income, reduced earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Aside from the more expensive monthly premium, there’s no downside to purchasing uninsured motorist coverage.
Do I Need an Uninsured Motorist Lawyer in Florida?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash with an uninsured driver, it’s always a good idea to talk to a car accident lawyer. Remember, your auto accident claim will still be handled by an insurance company. Just because it’s your insurance company doesn’t mean you’ll be offered a fair settlement.
An attorney can review your insurance policy to determine what coverage is available to you. In Florida, UM must be rejected in writing. If you do not recall opting out of UM coverage, you could carry it unknowingly.
A UM/UIM lawyer can also help file your claim and push back when adjusters try to reduce their payout to you. Even though you’re the policyholder, there are no promises they’ll pay the full amount you’re due without persistent and effective negotiating. Hiring an attorney tells the insurance company that you won’t be taken advantage of.