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Underinsured Motorist Accidents and Insurance Coverage: What You Should Know

Even though nearly every state, including Florida, requires its motorists to have automobile insurance, many purchase policies with the minimum limits allowable by law (in Florida, the statutory minimum amounts of personal injury protection and property damage limits are $10,000 each, there is no requirement to carry liability insurance). For example, if you have been involved in an accident, the responsible party’s insurance policy may not have liability coverage or may have limits that do not cover the full extent of your damages, which could include pain and suffering, disability, scarring or disfigurement, lost wages/income, medical expenses and a litany of other types of relevant out-of-pocket expenses. Click here to watch Miami personal injury lawyer, Stewart Greenberg, discuss different types of Florida Insurance Coverage.

Specifically, in many car accident cases in Florida, the victim had the opportunity to purchase something called “underinsured motorist coverage,” or UIM coverage, but for whatever reason, failed to obtain this very important form of coverage. This leaves them with the potential problem of having to front the bill for expenses that would have otherwise been covered had they understood the importance of an underinsured motorist policy.

Specifically, UIM coverage is very similar to uninsured motorist coverage, except for the fact that the wrongdoer has insurance that is not sufficient to fully compensate victims for their losses. Therefore, if a person is injured, they can look to this policy to cover the gap between the wrongdoer’s insurance amounts and the total costs of their damages (including personal and property). With this in mind, there are several reasons why it is important to consider purchasing UIM coverage, such as:

• The State of Florida has the highest rate of uninsured/ underinsured drivers in the nation. In Florida, nearly 20% of all drivers are either not covered at all for liability or have policies with the lowest bodily injury and property damage limits. Given this rather astonishing percentage of uninsured/ underinsured drivers, it is crucial to consider purchasing added protection for you and your family should you be involved in an accident. It is not worth taking unnecessary risks, especially when there are so many drivers who do not have enough insurance to cover all losses stemming from the accidents they cause.

• The State of Florida requires very low minimum auto insurance limits. As mentioned above, Florida law requires drivers to purchase a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 for property damage resulting from an accident. Since medical expenses and damage to a vehicle following an accident can cost way above these statutory minimum amounts, purchasing UIM coverage is highly recommended.

• It provides you with the peace of mind that you and your loved ones will be protected. Given the likelihood in Florida of being involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, having UIM coverage can help you feel at ease that your expenses will be covered should the unexpected occur.

• It protects you from monetary loss. If you are involved in an accident with an underinsured driver and sustained injuries as a result, chances are that your expenses will exceed Florida’s state minimum limits. Oftentimes, accidents can leave people with serious injuries, including bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, head and neck trauma, organ damage, internal bleeding and a litany of other serious conditions. Moreover, an accident can also lead to high treatment costs and other associated expenses that would not be covered by an underinsured’s policy. Hence, when a person purchases UIM coverage, it will compensate them for the shortfall between their policy and that of the wrongdoer, and may cover all of their expenses, such as including pain and suffering, lost wages/income, future medical costs, future loss of earnings, rehabilitation/physical therapy, and loss of the ability to enjoy life.

You are allowed, by law to purchase UIM benefits equal to the limits of your liability insurance coverage. If you have a policy with 100/300 BI, you may purchase those same limits of UIM coverage. More importantly, if you purchase “stacked UIM” coverage, and let’s say you own three insured cars, you then have $300,000 per person in coverage should there be an accident and injuries. This coverage covers you, your spouse and any resident relative in any car or if you are a pedestrian!

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver in Florida, please contact our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-888-499-9700 or 305-595-2400 for a FREE Consultation. Our legal professionals available 24/7 through e-mail or answering service. Let the highly skilled attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano protect your interests and fight for the compensation you deserve for your damages. We look forward to providing you with stellar legal representation.

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