According to the Insurance Information Institute’s most recent survey, Florida continues to rank number one in the nation for the most uninsured motorists. In 2015, Florida had the MOST DRIVERS in the country on the road without auto insurance, at a whopping 26%. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, these numbers have significantly increased.
It is essential to review the declarations page of your current auto policy and look for “UM” (uninsured motorist) or “UIM” (underinsured motorist). Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage pays for any bodily injury, including death when you sustain an injury in an automobile accident and either the at-fault party does not have bodily injury (BI) coverage or the limits are insufficient to cover the injuries that you have suffered.
UM and UIM (used interchangeably) insurance is vital. It compensates you if you, your passengers, or family members suffer an injury caused by an “at-fault” driver who either does not have bodily injury liability insurance, insufficient liability insurance to cover the total damages or no insurance at all. This principle applies whether you are riding in your car, someone else’s car or are struck by a vehicle while a pedestrian or riding a bike. It is also important to have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage on any motorcycles you own because your automobile policy will not cover them. UM/UIM pays for medical expenses, lost wages, bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death resulting from a car accident beyond your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto coverage. Personal Injury Protection pays 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses and 60% of work loss up to an amount of $10,000. Personal Injury does not cover pain & suffering or any other expenses.
When you purchase UM/UIM auto insurance, you can only buy at the same limit as your Bodily Injury Coverage. However, you may elect to stack the coverage. Generally, this means that your UM coverage limits are multiplied by the number of vehicles on the policy of insurance. If you only own one vehicle, it may not be necessary to stack the insurance policy. The extra premium cost is nominal. However, this additional cost should NOT deter you from getting the coverage. We have increasingly seen many severely injured people who end up with thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages. The injured party is then personally responsible for any out-of-pocket medical expenses because of the lack of insurance coverage on the at-fault party’s side and the lack of UM/UIM coverage on the victim’s insurance.
For a free explanation of your auto insurance policy and how your current coverage protects you, give Hughes Law Firm a call at (561)296.9400.
AUTO INSURANCE TERMS EXPLAINED
When shopping for a policy, beware of terms such “as full coverage” and “what’s required.” The language one considers “full coverage” or “what’s required” differs from one person to another. You should determine the type and amount of insurance you need. The following is the most common coverage available in Florida.
Bodily Injury Liability (BI) Coverage: pays for death or serious and permanent injury to others when you are legally liable for those damages. If the victim sues the insured party, the insurer will provide legal representation.
Property Damage Liability (PD) Coverage: pays for damages that an insured is legally liable for resulting in the physical damage to, or destruction of, the tangible property of another, including loss of use. If a victim sues the insured, the insurer will provide legal representation. Florida law requires a minimum of $10,000 in this coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: pays 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses incurred due to a covered injury, regardless of who caused the accident. Necessary and reasonable medical costs include medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and rehabilitative services, extending to prosthetic devices and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services. After January 1, 2013, payment is based on whether an individual receives initial services and care within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident. After January 1, 2013, follow-up care is contingent on the covered person being diagnosed with an emergency medical injury. PIP also pays 60 percent of work loss and a $5,000 death benefit. After January 1, 2013, the $5,000 death benefit is an additional amount of insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: pays for an accidental bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, when such an injury is the result of an automobile accident and the at-fault party does not have Bodily Injury (BI) Coverage or has liability limits lower than what is needed.
Medical Payments (Med Pay) Coverage: pays reasonable expenses for necessary medical and funeral services due to a bodily injury or death sustained in an automobile accident, regardless of fault.
Comprehensive or Other than Collision Coverage: pays for damage to a vehicle from incidents other than a collision, including fire, theft, windstorm, vandalism, 0or flood. It also covers damages caused by falling objects or from hitting an animal.
Collision Coverage: pays for repair or the actual cash value for the insured’s vehicle if it collides with another vehicle, flips over, or crashes into an object (except animals), regardless of who causes the accident.
Towing and Labor Coverage: provides coverage for emergency road service (at the scene) and towing up to the policy’s limits.
Rental Reimbursement: provides reimbursement for automobile rental up to a specified limit shown on the policy. It applies if the insured gets into an accident with their automobile and can no longer drive it, and usually if someone steals the auto.