WHY IS UNINSURED MOTORIST
April 19, 2022
Too often, people think their auto insurance policies are about insuring their vehicles or insuring them from liability should they cause an accident. The fact is that the primary consideration of your auto insurance should be your own health and well-being.
An insurance policy can’t keep you from getting injured in a car accident, but it can help pay the cost of your injuries if you are. That is why it’s important that auto owners in Boca Raton or anywhere else in Florida have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their auto insurance policy.
I know insurance coverage can be confusing, but your future is too important to leave to chance. At my law firm—Steven J. Litvack P.A.—I have seen dozens of clients injured in car accidents by uninsured drivers. Without their own insurance coverage, these clients can never be made whole again. As a car accident attorney, I recommend uninsured motorist coverage. If you live anywhere in Florida, including Boca Raton, Coconut Creek, Palm Beach County, or Coral Springs, set up a consultation with me today.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is coverage in your auto insurance policy that you can file a claim against if your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not enough to pay your medical expenses and lost wages and the at-fault driver has no insurance.
You may be confused by two elements. First, Florida is a no-fault state, which means your insurance pays your expenses if you are injured, no matter who is at fault. Second, you may be wondering why you need uninsured motorist coverage when drivers in Florida are required to carry liability insurance should they injure someone else.
Florida is a no-fault state, but that does not mean no one is at fault for a crash. You will access your PIP coverage first. If your injuries are severe enough, you will likely exhaust the limits of your PIP coverage quickly. If, indeed, the other driver’s negligence causes the crash, you can file a claim against that driver’s bodily injury liability coverage for up to its limits to pay your medical expenses.
Although Florida auto owners are required by law to carry minimum liability insurance coverage, not all of them do. If you are unlucky enough to be hit by a driver without liability insurance coverage, you need an alternative source of coverage. You need uninsured motorist coverage in your own auto policy.
You can file a claim against this coverage in your own policy to cover not only the medical and rehabilitation expenses and lost wages you exceed in your PIP coverage, but non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish as well.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in Florida?
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Florida. You will need to ask your insurance carrier to add UM coverage to your policy and you will pay an additional premium to have it.
It is wise to purchase high UM policy limits in the event you need them. The additional cost of basic UM coverage and even of high-limit UM coverage may be a few hundred dollars a year, but well worth the investment.
What Does It Mean to Stack Coverage?
Florida insurance law allows policyholders to stack coverage. That means if you buy UM coverage on more than one vehicle, you can stack the limits of coverage for each vehicle in one accident. You just need to be driving one of the UM-insured vehicles at the time of the crash.
For example, imagine you have two insured vehicles. You purchase $100,000 in UM coverage on each policy. If an uninsured at-fault driver injures you while you are driving one of your two vehicles, you can stack the $100,000 UM coverage and claim up to $200,000 in benefits. You can see why stacking uninsured motorist benefits provides superior coverage if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
What Happens If I Don’t Have UM Coverage?
If you are the victim of an uninsured driver and you have no uninsured motorist coverage, once you exhaust your PIP coverage, there is no more money to pay for your injuries and damages. The only way you might recover is by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to obtain a judgment against them—but if they own no assets, there is little chance they will pay. The fact that they were driving without auto insurance is likely indicative of the fact that they own few if any assets of value.
You will have to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages beyond your PIP limits out of your own pocket. It’s easy to exceed the limits of PIP coverage with just the emergency room visit alone.
How Steven J. Litvack P.A. Can Help
I can help you explore your options for adding uninsured motorist coverage. There are variables when determining coverage, such as the amount of wages you earn, the type of job you have, the frequency with which you transport passengers, and the number of vehicles you insure. I can help you make sense of the numbers and the investment you make in UM coverage.
If you have UM coverage and have been injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you cannot assume your insurance company will pay you fairly. Your company will fight to pay you as little as possible under your own UM coverage with the same force you would face when filing a claim against an at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Your insurance company is motivated by profits, even when their own insureds are filing a claim.
I know how to fight back for my clients in and around Boca Raton, Florida. I know how insurance companies work and how to use my knowledge and experience to fight for fair compensation. All you need to do to get started is to call Steven J. Litvack P.A. to schedule a consultation. I’m ready to help.