No one ever thinks they’re going to be involved in a car accident. However, planning for one is always a good idea. Unfortunately, many drivers do not and they continue to drive uninsured. As such, you need to protect yourself with uninsured motorist coverage.
Do you know the pros and cons of uninsured motorist coverage?
Accidents happen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 there were nearly seven million police-reported crashes in the United States. Over the course of a typical driving lifetime, a driver can expect to be involved in three to four accidents. Even with statistics like this, it is still easy to think it will never happen to you. But as the old adage says, you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Uninsured motorist coverage can help you do this.
How do I Prepare for a Car Accident?
There are various ways a driver can prepare for a car accident. Undoubtedly, the best way to prepare for an accident is to avoid one all together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. A driver can take any number of steps they think will help them avoid an accident, but the reality is, you cannot control the other drivers on the road. You cannot control their driving behavior nor can you control whether they have insurance to pay for the damage they cause, which could quickly climb to several thousand dollars if medical bills are involved.
Florida law mandates a minimal car insurance standard, but Florida does not require drivers to have liability insurance. Even though Florida requires some coverage, Florida ranks number two in the nation for the highest portion of uninsured drivers, which is around 24%.
“1 in 4 drivers on Florida roads do not have any car insurance.”
With all of these factors out of the driver’s control, the best way to prepare for an accident is to prepare for the financial fallout that is likely to accompany an accident by purchasing uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage can make all the difference between financial security and financial ruin after an accident.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage function much like Bodily Injury Automobile Insurance coverage. UM coverage provides insurance coverage to the policyholder for damages caused by the negligence of a driver of a vehicle that does not have insurance. UIM coverage provides insurance coverage should the negligent driver’s insurance coverage be insufficient to pay for all of the harm they cause.
UM and UIM can be used to pay for:
- Medical expense both present and future
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future loss of earning potential
Pros of Obtaining Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Since UM coverage protects you after an injury accident with an uninsured driver, the main pro of obtaining uninsured motorist coverage is that you will have the money you need regardless of the other driver. Even though Florida is a no-fault state, after you exhaust your PIP coverage, you may need additional funds to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. UM coverage can do just that. It prevents you from suffering unnecessary financial burdens because of another driver’s mistakes.
Pro: Stacking Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you purchase UM or UIM coverage, you may be able to take advantage of what is known as “stacking.” In the context of UM and UIM coverage, the policyholder can stack coverage based on the amount of vehicles to be covered under the policy. For instance, if you purchase a $100,000 UM / UIM policy and have three vehicles on the policy, you can “stack” the policy so that there is really $300,000 in coverage. Basically, the amount of coverage is multiplied by the number of cars covered under the policy.
Cons of Obtaining Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The only real con of obtaining uninsured motorist coverage is the additional monthly premium. However, this is additional cost is often minimal, sometimes just a few additional dollars a month. To learn how purchasing UM/UIM insurance will affect your premiums, it is important to talk to your insurance agent and ask upfront.
Even with the additional cost, UM insurance gives you the peace of mind you need to know that you are covered in case of any accident. When another driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have adequate insurance, you will be able to draw from your own policy and get the financial help you deserve after a crash.
Do I need Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Drivers in Florida are not required to have either UM or UIM coverage. This coverage is simply a way to ensure a driver can best be prepared to handle the financial fallout of an accident, in the event the other driver either has no insurance or not enough. An accident can result is medical bills that climb into the hundreds of thousands. If you combine this with the fact that almost one in four drivers in Florida do not have car insurance, the cost of adding both UM and UIM coverage is small compared to the potentially large bills that often accompany an auto accident.
Your insurance carrier is required to offer uninsured motorist coverage. If you wish to reject the coverage, you must do so in writing. If you elect to reject UM / UIM coverage, realize the insurance broker will likely avoid explaining the importance of UM / UIM coverage. This type of policy tips heavily in favor of the insured person, as it exposes the insurance carrier to a much greater risk.
“It’s in the best interest of insurance carriers for you not to have full coverage.”
The bottom line is that accidents are going to happen. You cannot control the other drivers on the road, so it’s best to take advantage of what you can control, your insurance coverage. Adding UM / UIM coverage to your policy will ensure you will be able to deal with the financial fallout that often accompanies an auto accident. Before you opt out of the coverage, make sure you do your research so you can make a sound decision rather than relying on the advice of an insurance broker.
When an UM Accident Occurs
When you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, it is important to have an experienced Florida car accident attorney on your side from the start. Your attorney can work with your own insurance company to ensure that you get the the money you deserve.
The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have years of experience dealing with the insurance companies, varying insurance policies, and those who are in need of filing insurance claims. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile accident, call the Florida insurance lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. We can help you navigate the complex path that is maximizing your insurance claim.
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