Claiming Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Discussed by Our Southwest Florida Personal Injury Lawyers

Did you know that nearly 27 percent of Florida drivers do not have any insurance?  And almost as important, many Florida drivers carry basic, minimum coverage insurance that is completely inadequate to compensate someone they might injure in a car accident.

Unfortunately, the State of Florida does not require its motorists to carry a type of coverage called BODILY INJURY LIABILITY.  The only coverages required by Florida law in order to drive legally are $10,000.00 in personal injury protection (covers your own accident related medical bills up to $10,000.00) and $10,000.00 in property damage protection (pays for damages caused to someone else’ car, up to $10,000.00).  These required coverages do absolutely nothing to compensate an injured party. While some motorists may elect to purchase BODILY INJURY LIABILITY coverage, oftentimes they purchase such small levels of coverage that it does little to compensate a seriously injured motorist.  So, how do you protect yourself from being injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver?

UM/UIM Coverage in Florida

Uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage protects you in case you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.  The amount of this coverage you purchase depends on your willingness to pay additional premiums on your automobile insurance policy and how much protection you want for yourself and your family.  Every day, we see claims injury “worth” $100,000.00, $250,000.00, or $500,000.00, or wrongful death claims valued at over $1,000,000.00 that must resolve for far less because the at fault party has limited BODILY INJURY LIABILITY insurance coverage, and our injured client has equally limited uninsured motorist benefits through their own policy.  This situation is a common occurrence in Florida, because our Legislature, unlike other states, does not require our residents to carry BODILY INJURY LIABILITY coverage.  States such as Michigan and Massachusetts, for example, require their residents to carry a minimum of $100,00000 in BODILY INJURY LIABILITY coverage.  In those states, injured parties are treated much more fairly regarding the financial aspects of their injury claims.

Under an uninsured motorist policy, there are many benefits and nuances of the coverage.  Uninsured motorist coverage will step in to compensate you for injuries suffered at the hands of an unidentified hit-and-run driver.  Underinsured motorist coverage also covers all passengers in your car who are injured during an accident.  Incredibly important for families who have children off to college but who are still on their parents’ automobile policy, these children remain covered under their parents’ automobile policy as “resident relatives’ of their parents’ household. 

If you have multiple cars on your auto insurance policy, you can obtain extra underinsured motorist coverage if you elect “stacking” instead of non-stacking coverage.  If you have 3 cars in your household and you purchase a $100,000.00maximum  per person / $300,000.00 maximum per accident maximum coverage, these amounts get multiplied by 3 (stacking), so in reality you purchase $300,000.00 maximum per person / $900,0000.00 maximum per accident in coverage. In the event  you or a family member is seriously injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this stacking uninsured motorist coverage could be the financial lifeline that protects your family.

When it comes to uninsured motorist coverage, have a blunt conversation with your automobile insurance agent.  Ask questions, and specifically focus on the dreaded question of “What happens if I’m seriously injured in a car accident by an uninsured or underinsured driver, how will me and my family be compensated?”  Specifically ask a question such as “What happens if I suffer a $100,000.00 injury and owe $45,000.00 in medical expenses, and the other driver has no liability coverage and I only carry $50,000.00 in uninsured motorist coverage?”  These pointed questions, and the answers you should receive, will highlight the importance of carrying at least $100,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits.  If you purchase your insurance online and have no one to ask these questions of, you need to speak to a local attorney or insurance agent to understand the risks you face when not having adequate uninsured motorist coverage.

We see instances where having adequate uninsured motorist coverage financially saves a family from ruin after a devastating car accident.  Unfortunately, we see far more instances of families being mentally and financially destroyed after a serious accident where the at fault party does not carry adequate insurance, and our client did not purchase adequate uninsured motorist coverage.  Please review your policy carefully, and seriously consider increasing the level of uninsured motorist coverage you have to protect your family.

GTS is Here to Help

If you were involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another, learn how our Southwest Florida accident lawyers can help you and your family recover fair compensation for your personal injuries, medical bills, and lost wages.  Our experienced and compassionate team at Goldman, Tiseo, and Sturges, P.A. will advise you how we can help you and your family during a FREE consultation.  Please call us at (941) 625-6666, or send us a message through our contact us box available on our website here.  Whether you are a resident of Florida or were injured while visiting from out of state, our Florida personal injury lawyers can assist.

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