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The 411 on Uninsured Motorist Accidents and How to Protect Yourself in Florida

If a person is hurt in a car accident in the United States, chances are about 14% to 15% that the driver responsible for the accident will not be insured. With the costs of living and everything else seemingly on the rise, it isn’t a surprise that many are taking huge risks by foregoing state mandated essentials, such as automobile insurance. According to recent statistical data issued from the Insurance Research Council, our Miami personal injury lawyers find the amount of uninsured drivers in the United States is currently around 14%. However, in Florida, the amount of uninsured drivers is shocking, and accounts for nearly 20% of all drivers state-wide. This percentage is much higher in South Florida. In fact, the State of Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation. With this in mind, it is important to consider the ways in which you can protect yourself, such as adding uninsured motorist coverage to your existing auto insurance policy.

Why is uninsured motorist coverage important if I already carry no fault insurance?

In the State of Florida, “no fault” ( commonly referred to as PIP or Personal Injury Protection Coverage) coverage is mandatory and carries with it a limit of $10,000. Notwithstanding, the meaning of “no fault” can be highly confusing. Specifically, it describes a system in which each driver’s insurance carrier pays for their insured’s medical and lost wages at 80% up to a maximum of $10,000, regardless of fault. While “no fault” benefits are highly important, they usually do not cover the full scope of losses suffered in the more serious types of accidents that can occur.

Accordingly, while uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory, it may be beneficial if you or your passengers have been injured in a collision involving a person who has no little to no bodily injury coverage. Hence, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and sustain injuries as a result, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses, future medical costs, future income/wage losses, and such non-economic damages as pain and suffering, disability, scarring, and the loss of the ability to enjoy one’s life. Additionally important is the fact that uninsured motorist coverage travels along with you, meaning that it protects an insured even if they are not in their own vehicle.

Insurance carriers who offer auto liability insurance coverage in Florida are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to an insured’s Bodily Injury (BI) Coverage or, if elected, some amount less than the BI coverage.. As such, you may reject this type of coverage should you feel it is not necessary which we strongly urge you to buy.. However, if you choose to purchase an uninsured motorist policy, you must purchase the same limit for each car, should you wish to cover more than one (i.e. for families with multiple vehicles).

It is also important to keep in mind that the number of vehicles that you choose to insure also affects your uninsured motorist coverage. For example, the amount of your uninsured motorist policy limits are added together to equal the sum of uninsured motorist coverage available to you if you elect “stacked’ coverage, which we also strongly recommend. So, if you originally requested 100,000/200,000 in BI coverage and the same limits in UM coverage, and you have two cars insured under your uninsured motorist policy, you have a total of 200,000/400,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Notwithstanding, many people do not realize that they can obtain higher than these limits, which may provide them with even more comprehensive coverage. Not to mention the fact that many insurance companies fail to sufficiently explain the importance of uninsured motorist coverage and how it can protect you and your family.

In fact, many insurance companies, knowing the importance of this coverage (UM) recommend against it to their insured’s claiming “you don’t need it if you have health insurance.” Health insurance does not cover every medical bill, none of your lost wages, no loss of earning capacity, no loss of enjoyment of life, no disability, nor scarring nor pain nor suffering. The reason the insurance agents do not want you to buy UM coverage is because if there is a claim, it effects their “loss ratio.” In other words, the agent is more worried about his/her relationship with the insurance carrier than about properly covering your family. Please note that if you have a liability umbrella policy, you should purchase UM on it as well.

Over the years, our firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars for our client’s under UM coverage where without it, they would have never been fully compensated.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident in Florida or would like more information on uninsured motorist coverage, please contact us at 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400 for a FREE Consultation. Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys are available 24/7 through e-mail or answering service Let the seasoned lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano ease your burdens and fight for your rights and interests. We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.

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