Florida is very lenient when it comes to regulations regarding liability insurance. With this leniency, uninsured and underinsured drivers have become a huge problem in Florida. The Florida DMV estimates that one in five drivers are uninsured (up from 1 in 7 just a few years ago), which means millions of drivers are on the road uninsured or with bare minimum insurance.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM coverage), is one of the most important coverages you can have as part of your auto insurance policy in Florida. It is essentially a safeguard that pays for your injuries when the at-fault person does not have any or enough liability coverage.
Sadly, without this key coverage it makes it harder for our car accident attorneys to make things right again for you should you be involved in a crash. This begs the question, how much UM insurance should you have?
Driving without auto insurance in Florida is against the law, but just because you purchase the minimum amount of required auto insurance doesn’t mean it is enough to cover you and your vehicle in an accident.
In Florida, the bare minimum required insurance means having $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL). It is important to understand that PIP coverage only applies to the driver that purchased the coverage, so even if you were not at fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance will not apply to you! Additionally, PDL only applies to property damage that the negligent party causes.
Simply stated, with Florida being a “no-fault” state, your insurance will be used to cover any medical bills, damage expenses, loss of work expenses, etc.
As just stated, if you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, your own auto insurance coverage will be responsible for covering your damages. But why do you need to have more than the required bare minimum that Florida law requires for auto insurance coverage?
UM coverage, or uninsured/underinsured coverage, does not just cover you, but it also applies to passengers and family members. It is also applicable in a hit and run accident, or if you (or family members) are hit as a pedestrian or cyclist.
Your required $10,000 PIP and PDL coverage will most likely be maxed out if you are seriously hurt. UM coverage pays for medical expenses, bodily injury, lost wages, sickness, and more that are the results of a motor vehicle accident. Think about it this way, a new car will cost you more than $10,000 and severe medical bills/lost wages, etc., will cost you well into the five and six digits.
Now that you know the importance of having more than the bare minimum required insurance, how do you know how much coverage to have?
We now know that UM coverage is an additional and supplemental insurance, one that is often overlooked by drivers because they want to save money on their auto insurance policies. Even though it is tempting, saving a couple of bucks a month on a lesser plan can leave you in a financially difficult situation if you are involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver. As we’ve discussed earlier, in Florida especially, this is extremely common.
It is recommended to look at your policy limits and pick the highest possible amount you can afford, so you will have the highest liability coverage possible. Drivers are recommended to purchase insurance coverage that allows for bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident so their assets can be protected against lawsuits.
Our injury attorneys recommend that you check your insurance policy annually. This will help to reevaluate how much uninsured motorist (and possibly other coverages) you may need based on your current needs.
We believe no one should be left financially strained or bankrupt after an accident, especially one that was not your fault. That’s why here, your family is our family and our car crash lawyers will fight for you like it.
If you have questions about how uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage works or need help with your uninsured/underinsured accident case, contact Mickey Keenan, P.A. at (813) 871-1300 to schedule a free consultation.