UM (uninsured motorist) coverage is optional insurance you may purchase on your car insurance policy, but it is extremely important. It can help pay for injuries, outstanding medical bills, uncompensated lost wages, and other damages when the at-fault driver in a car accident did not carry bodily injury liability insurance coverage, or enough bodily injury insurance coverage (in which case UM coverage is referred to as UIM, or underinsured motorist coverage). Furthermore, UM coverage will also cover the occupants of your vehicle (so long as they did not cause the accident).
It is especially important to have UM coverage in Florida where, unlike many other states, it is not required to have bodily injury coverage. The only automobile insurance that is required in Florida is:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage – which pays for medical bills; and
- $10,000 of property damage (PD) liability coverage – which covers the damage to another driver’s car for a car accident you cause.
It is crazy to think that Florida requires drivers to carry insurance to cover damages caused to the car of the victim of a motor vehicle accident, but not for that same person’s injuries. All the more important reason to maintain UM coverage – you need to protect yourself since the other Florida drivers are not required to, even if it is clear that they caused the accident.
One other thing you should consider if you insure more than 1 vehicle under your car insurance policy is to purchase Stacked UM coverage. This allows you to multiply the UM coverage times the number of vehicles on your policy. For example, if you purchase stacked UM coverage of $100,000/$300,000 for 2 vehicles on your policy you would have up to $200,000 of UM coverage available per person with a maximum of $600,000 per accident, (non-stacked coverage would be capped at $100,000 per person with a cap of $300,000 per accident).
Just this past week I regrettably had to inform a victim of a car crash who sustained serious injuries, went to the hospital by ambulance, and required additional medical care that I was unable to represent her because the other driver who caused the crash failed to maintain bodily injury liability insurance. Sadly, the victim neglected to purchase UM coverage to adequately protect her under her own car insurance policy. Don’t risk falling into that unfortunate situation as so many others have done. There are several important considerations in purchasing car insurance that are often not explained by agents or insurance companies until it is too late. You never know when a car accident may happen. Do not assume that other drivers are adequately insured and make sure that you have sufficient insurance coverage, not just “full” coverage which is typically synonymous for maintaining the minimum $10,000 of PIP and PD coverage.
Our experienced attorneys at Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith can help provide insight into this and other important insurance considerations so you also do not risk being inadequately insured. Furthermore, please contact us if you or someone you know have been in a motor vehicle accident so we can thoroughly investigate and analyze the insurance coverage that is available to you.
This article is written by attorney Glenn Siegel.