Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What You Need To Know

Next time you’re on I-4, look at the four cars surrounding your own, on your left and right, in front of and behind your vehicle. Chances are that at least one of those drivers is an uninsured motorist, according to these sobering Florida stats.

According to one recent study, 3.2 million Floridians, or 23% of the driving population, are on our roads without insurance. There are an awful lot of uninsured drivers—young and old, experienced and new, careful and not—sharing Florida’s roads. The way to protect you and your family is through Florida uninsured motorist coverage. We’ll answer your FAQs here, so that you know what uninsured motorist (UM) car insurance is, and why you should carry it on your policy.

Question: What if I’m in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

In Florida, the personal injury protection (PIP) on your insurance policy will pay up to $10,000 of your medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who’s at fault in the collision. Once that $10,000 cap is reached, the other driver’s insurance coverage kicks in if they’re at fault—assuming that they have insurance. But, if the other driver is uninsured, or even underinsured, you may not be fully compensated for your injuries. That’s because Florida law does not require the driver or owner of the car to purchase liability insurance to pay for damages caused by their negligent driving.

Question: What if I don’t have UM coverage?

The simple answer: you are out of luck. If the at fault driver has no liability insurance, there will be nothing for your attorney to claim against. Your compensation will be limited to the benefits provided by your Florida PIP insurance, which not designed to cover any serious accident leaving a permanent injury.

But, if you have purchased UM coverage, you can make a claim against your own insurance company for the additional medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by the uninsured or underinsured negligent driver. In other words, your Florida UM coverage pays for the damages you suffer if you’re in a collision with the an uninsured motorist. Think of it as buying insurance for an accident with an uninsured, or underinsured, driver.

Question: How much coverage should I purchase?

The simple answer: as much as you can afford. Florida UM coverage is sold in what’s called a split limit, which is a number that looks like this: $25,000/$50,000, or $200,000/$400,000. The first number is the coverage you’ll receive if one person is in an accident with an uninsured motorist, while the second number is the total amount that can be paid to all the occupants of the car who have claims that arise out of the accident. According to these examples, if there are 4 people in your car during a collision, the total payout would be $50,000 or $400,000, respectively.

If you have questions or concerns about Florida uninsured motorist coverage, we’re here to help. Call us today at 407-781-0420 for a free consultation with Orlando personal injury attorney Jeff Badgley.

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