The concept of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is missunderstood by most people. It is maybe the most important insurance coverage you should carry to protect yourself and your loved ones.
To register a car, Florida drivers are only required to purchase $10,000.00 in property damage coverage and no-fault coverage. The property damage coverage pays up to $10,000.00 for the property damaged (car, tree, fence, etc.) in an accident caused by you or the driver of your car. The P.I.P. Benefit (Personal Injury Protection Benefit), also known as no-fault benefit, pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of any wages lost by you or a family member, up to $10,000.00 minus any applicable deductible.
No bodily injury (B.I.) coverage is required in Florida. This means that if someone else injures you in an accident they cause, they do not have to carry insurance to pay for your injuries. This is very important because the only way you can protect yourself and your loved ones, is to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
UM/UIM Coverage Explained
When you purchase uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage you have your own insurance company stand in place or in addition to the coverage carried by the person who caused the accident. Florida law establishes that your own car insurance company must offer you UM/UIM coverage up to the limits of the BI (Bodily Injury) coverage that you choose. This means that 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. Also, if you have more than one car, you can purchase “stackable coverage” in which case you would have $25,000 in coverage for each car in your household. It is an inexpensive way to protect your family.
They usually Don’t Tell You About UM/UIM
Insurance companies may not tell you about uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage or will tell you that you don’t need it. This is not true and you do need it. They just don’t like to sell this coverage because any losses paid under these policies go against their own loss ratios (as opposed to the other loss ratios of the insurance company of the other driver) and they know how many people in Florida have little or no insurance. For the same reason (i.e.. given how many people have little or no insurance here), I highly recommend that you purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. Also, if you can make it stackable, do so. This means that if, for example, you could afford 100/300 in coverage and decide to make it stackable, you would end up with 200/600 for 2 cars. Also, ask your insurance company if they have what is known as Combined Single Limit (CSL) coverage. If they do and you purchase it, you would end up having a policy with $300,000 combined single limit which would provide you with $300,000 in UM/UIM benefits for each car in that policy. 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 and so on. Although this may seems as too much coverage, 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. By purchasing UM/UIM coverage, you are protecting yourself and your family.
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 Palm Beach 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.