If you are injured in an automobile accident in Florida, the chances are about one in five that the driver at fault is uninsured. Florida has one of the highest uninsured driver populations in the nation, with 19% of its drivers without liability coverage. Although Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is mandatory and carries a $10,000 limit in Florida, this is often less than a single trip to the Emergency Room. And if the at-fault driver does not carry Bodily Injury Insurance, you could be left without any recovery for your losses. Motorists are not required to carry Bodily Injury Insurance under Florida law and about half of the cars on the road don’t carry Bodily Injury Insurance. Furthermore, while health insurance and disability insurance may cover your medical bills and lost wages, they will not cover any of your non-economic damages. This is why Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance is so important.
UM Insurance will pay for your damages if you are involved in an automobile accident with an at fault driver who either doesn’t have Bodily Injury Insurance at all (uninsured motorist), or who does not have enough Bodily Injury Insurance (underinsured motorist) to cover your losses. UM Insurance usually covers the following expenses: medical expenses and lost wages not fully paid by PIP, future medical expenses and future wage losses, and non-economic damages such as disability, pain and suffering, and the loss of ability to enjoy life. UM Insurance can be classified as either Stacked and Non-Stacked.
Stacked Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Stacked Uninsured Motorist Insurance is the best type of UM insurance to protect yourself and your family in the event of an automobile accident. Stacked UM Insurance allows you to “stack” the amount of coverage carried on several vehicles. For example, if you carry Stacked UM Insurance on three cars with coverage of $100,000 per car, you can stack the coverage available under the three policies, allowing you to receive up to $300,000. The amount of UM coverage that you wish to keep on each vehicle is your decision. If $300,000 seems excessive, you may opt for less coverage. The only requirement is that each vehicle carries the same amount of coverage. Just remember that it is better to have too much coverage than not enough coverage, and $10,000 is far too often not enough.
Stacked UM Insurance is also the better choice for motorists with only one car because the coverage “follows” the motorist. In other words, you are covered if you are a passenger or are driving someone else’s car, or if you are injured by a vehicle while riding a bicycle or walking. By contrast, Non-Stacked UM Insurance only allows you to recover under your policy if you are involved in an automobile accident while in your insured vehicle.
UM Requirements in Florida
Florida law requires that UM Insurance be offered and either accepted or properly rejected by a “named insured” when an insurance policy which provides liability coverage is issued or delivered. Properly rejected means that the insured is required to sign a form stating that they do not wish to purchase UM Insurance. If the insurer fails to have the insured properly rejected UM Insurance, then UM coverage is provided by the contract as through the required coverage had been offered and accepted by the named insured as a matter of law.
Generally speaking, insurance agents usually don’t explain the Uninsured Motorists Insurance very well, and may instead tell you that you are getting “Full Coverage.” Don’t let this fool you! Full coverage means that they are only selling you the Minimum Insurance that Florida law
We Can Help
If you have been in an auto accident, the best thing you can do is seek the help of an experienced attorney. At Kovar Law Group we are well-versed in dealing with these issues and are proficient in gathering the required evidence to secure the best outcome possible. Schedule a free consultation with Kovar Law Group today.