Uninsured Motorist (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Claims
Florida Auto Accident Insurance Coverage
Unfortunately many people realize the importance of UM coverage too late – that is, after they or loved one has been seriously injured by an uninsured driver. Under insured (not enough insurance) and uninsured (no insurance) motorist coverage is not mandatory in Florida but protects drivers when the other driver either doesn’t have enough auto insurance or none at all.
You do not have to be an automobile driver or passenger in order to be eligible for UM benefits – a UM policy applies if you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or bystander, as long as the “at fault” driver was uninsured or underinsured. It also applies if you are in a hit-and-run accident.
The State of Florida doesn’t require drivers to carry bodily injury (BI) liability insurance. Florida law also only requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 for property damage liability. In some cases this may not be enough to cover all your accident expenses.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering after the $10,000 personal injury protection is exhausted and after the at-fault driver has confirmed there is no insurance or has offered very little insurance to pay your bills. UM coverage provides protection to you, resident relatives, and passengers in your vehicle-if involved in a crash with someone who has no liability coverage or not enough insurance to cover your damages.
Why is uninsured motorist coverage important—the Insurance Research Council estimates that 24 percent of Florida drivers are uninsured. Since uninsured motorist coverage and bodily injury coverage are optional coverage for Florida drivers, that means there are many drivers on the roadway with little or no coverage; and if you in an accident with them, you could be footing many of the bills yourself depending on your insurance policy coverage and coverage limits.
Also, some insurance companies may be hesitant to sell uninsured motorist coverage to drivers because you are more likely to be a victim in an accident and need reimbursement and their goal is to save their insurance company money and not pay a lot in claims. If you or someone else under your policy was seriously injured, a claim could be made against your own carrier for all damages recognized by the laws of Florida. Simply put, UM/UIM coverage makes your insurance company responsible for the damages that would otherwise have been the responsibility of the at-fault driver.
You should also ask your insurance representative about Stacked or Unstacked uninsured motorist coverage. UM coverage comes in 2 ways – “Stacked” or “Unstacked.” Simply stated, “stacked” multiplies your limits for this coverage by the number of cars you’re insuring. For example, if you have 2 cars in your household and choose stacked coverage, the UM benefit amount is multiplied by 2. Although this slightly increases your premiums, the UM benefits double, thereby providing you with added personal protection.
We strongly recommend that Florida drivers purchase UM / UIM coverage and stack when possible. You can increase your coverage through stacking while protecting you and your family against and unforeseen auto accident.