Most people do not understand the concept of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is perhaps the most important insurance coverage you could purchase to protect yourself and your family.
In Florida, all that is required of a driver to register a car is insurance coverage of $10,000.00 in property damage coverage and no-fault coverage. The $10,000.00 in property damage coverage, pays up to $10,000.00 to anyone else for the their property (including a car, tree, fence, etc.) that is damaged by an accident that you or the driver of your car causes. The no-fault benefit or PIP (Personal Injury Protection Benefit), as it is also known, pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your loss wages or a family members loss wages, up to an aggregate of $10,000.00 minus any applicable deductible.
Florida does not require mandatory bodily injury coverage. In other words, if someone else causes an accident, and you are injured, they are not required to have coverage to pay you for your injuries. This is very important. The only way to protect yourself and members of your family, is for you to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
What is UM/UIM Coverage?
What this means is that you are buying coverage through your own automobile insurance carrier to take the place of or be in addition to the coverage provided by the person who was at fault for the accident. Under Florida law, your own automobile insurance company must offer you UM/UIM coverage up to the limits of the BI (Bodily Injury) coverage that you elect. In other words, if you purchase bodily injury coverage for your car of 25/50 ($25,000 per person/$50,000.00 per occurrence) you are automatically allowed to purchase up to $25,000/$50,0000 in UM/UIM benefits. In addition, if you have more than one car, you can purchase “stackable coverage” which means, that you would have $25,000 in coverage for each car in your household that is covered under the policy. This could dramatically increase the insurance for you and your loved ones at a very reasonable rate. It is an inexpensive way to protect your family.
Insurance Companies Won’t Tell You That You Need UM/UIM
Insurance companies often tell you that you don’t need uninsured motorist coverage. This is patently not true. Insurance companies don’t like to sell uninsured motorist coverage because it goes against their own loss ratios and they know how many people in Florida have little or no insurance. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as you could afford and make it stackable. If you could afford 100/300 in coverage and make it stackable that would be to your benefit (eg. 2 cars would afford coverage of 200/600 in UM/UIM benefits). Also inquire from your insurance agent if they have what is known as combined single limit (CSL) coverage. In other words, maybe you could purchase a policy with $300,000 combined single limit which would provide you with $300,000 in UM/UIM benefits. If you have more than one car, this could be stacked to provide $600,000 in coverage for 2 cars or $900,000 in coverage for 3 cars, etc. Remember, this may seem like a lot of coverage but if you or a loved one is severely injured in a crash, there may be substantial lost wages and medical expenses that are not covered by insurance and will not be covered by insurance. By buying UM/UIM coverage, you are protecting yourself and your family against loss and injury.
If you have any questions about UM/UIM coverage please contact the lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano and we will be happy to answer any of your questions free of charge. Also, if you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. The Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano has throughout the years represented many clients involved in traffic fatalities, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries. Visit our website to learn more about us and contact us today for a free consultation.