What Florida Drivers Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage (Don’t Sign Without Reading!)
According to DMV.org, the go-to source for DMV regulations and updated amendments to the law by state, the Insurance Research Council–better known as the IRC–has estimated that 1 in 7 drivers doesn’t carry car insurance. This statistic is staggering but not surprising in states like Florida, where most drivers don’t carry enough or any motor vehicle insurance at all.
The assumption that it’s a waste of money and that a driver will never need it will hurt them in the long run. Even a fender-bender that lacks the insurance coverage for necessary repairs can be costlier than a standard monthly insurance premium. And, for those drivers who are as safe on the road as they claim to be, it’ll be in their back pocket for a rainy day (literally! In Florida, the rain increases the number of car wrecks significantly regardless of safety measures taken while driving in a downpour).
In order to ensure that already-safe motorists remain that way–most states are now requiring insurance companies to write uninsured motorist coverage into all of their policies, removing the option for drivers not to carry it. This means prices increase, but the process of securing damages for motor vehicle repairs and medical expenses in the event of an accident is that much more streamlined. As an add-on, drivers are also offered an add-on called uninsured motorist property damage that covers any damage to the vehicle or other property that may have been destroyed or severely damaged by an uninsured driver.
Why should the “just in case” scenario matter to drivers?
To gain a better understanding of the concept of “uninsured motorist coverage”, let’s look at in what situations one would use it as explained in-depth in Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Why It’s Important and Why You Need It:
- The driver at-fault doesn’t have enough-or any-insurance coverage
- Eliminates the necessity that you pay for an accident in which you were not at-fault
- In states with higher rates of uninsured drivers, coverage can often cost more
These situations may not arise often (or at all) over the course of many years, but imagine it did, and there was no insurance policy in place to protect from a totaled vehicle, a driver becomes injured and must be out of work for an extended period time recovering, or any loved ones come to harm due to the reckless driving of another motorist. Drivers want to ensure their safety and that of others in every possible way, even if it’s a “just in case” scenario. Most uninsured motorist policies can easily fit into even the tightest budget, because car insurance companies want drivers to stay safe (and go with their company!).
Floridians have multiple UIM options
Nearly every form of insurance has multiple policies to fit lifestyle and budget. Uninsured motorist coverage policies are no different. Here is a better idea of what you get when it comes to your coverage. It’s an individual choice based on what the driver thinks they may need and the state they live in, the accident rate, how much they commute, etc.:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage (also known as “UMBI”): this type of insurance policy covers any injury-related expenses–from lost wages to medical bills–it can even cover the ambulance if a driver requires transport to a hospital from the scene of the accident. This comprehensive insurance policy can protect a driver should the accident turn out to be a hit and run, and the other driver is not able to be located, as is often the case with these types of accidents.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage (also known as “UMPD”): this type of insurance covers anything that happens to the vehicle in the event of an accident, if it causes severe damage or the vehicle is completely totaled. This less comprehensive level of coverage, however, does not cover any damage, to vehicle or property, nor does it cover medical expenses for injuries sustained in a hit and run accident. It’s important to pair this coverage with another form of car insurance.
Uninsured Florida drivers and lax laws make for increased road wrecks
Hardly anyone in South Florida is covered by car insurance, and if they are, they don’t have enough coverage. With the soaring amount of motor vehicle related accidents in Florida (Miami, specifically, has an extremely high rate of uninsured drivers and accidents–a combination that’s better left in the dust), it’s inevitable that at some point in the future Uninsured Motorist coverage will become a requirement. However, this hasn’t occurred yet, leaving many citizens in the state to believe they don’t need to have any type of insurance coverage, let alone a more comprehensive policy.
With the number of accidents growing it’s up to lawmakers to ensure the safety of those taking to the highways in Florida. It’s unfortunate, but as of yet these lawmakers have not made it a priority to enforce a universal uninsured motorist coverage law as a driving requirement. Just because Florida’s current laws are lax, this doesn’t mean drivers should use this loophole as a “money saving” excuse to forgo a car insurance policy.
Shaked Law Firm values the safety of Florida’s drivers
Accident lawyers see too many clients catastrophically injured in car accidents due to the negligence of an under-insured or completely uninsured driver. TBI, Spinal Cord Injury, and wrongful deaths are tragic and can be dramatically reduced by better enforcing the law, as well as by educating Florida’s drivers of the importance of comprehensive car insurance.
It’s important that drivers take their own safety and the safety of other drivers on the road seriously; and let’s not forget the safety of pedestrians and those on bikes and motorcycles as well. We must all safeguard against any possible driving or pedestrian accident that can occur due to someone else’s less than pristine driving record. “I’m a great driver!” is never an excuse to forgo insurance coverage. Whether a driver is rear ended because another motorist was texting, or a brand new car is cut off in traffic, causing a fender bender–driving can be made that much safer by selecting the right insurance policy to best fit the needs of the driver.