Car Accident: Do I Need UM Coverage?
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Do I Need It?
According to the Insurance Research Council, it is estimated that approximately 24% of Florida driver’s do not have insurance.
So what happens if you are in a car accident, are injured, and the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance, or has coverage, but the limits are extremely low?
Insurance companies who sell insurance in Florida are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage but this coverage is not mandatory. if you choose to have uninsured motorist coverage, what does that mean. Uninsured motorist coverage becomes important when you or your passengers are injured in a collision caused by a driver who has no bodily injury liability insurance coverage, or insufficient bodily injury liability coverage. Your uninsured motorist coverage covers the following expenses:
- medical expenses
- lost wages not fully paid by your no fault coverage
- future medical expenses
- future lost wages
- non-economic damages (disfigurement, pain and suffering, and the loss of ability to enjoy life.)
It is also important to note that this coverage follows the insured and not the car. Meaning if you are involved in a car accident where you are merely the passenger, you may still be able to make a claim through your insurance company.
Since Florida is a “no-fault” state, all insurance policies are required to carry $10,000 personal injury protection, commonly referred to as PIP benefits. The reasoning behind this requirement is to aid in reducing litigation, because the PIP benefits kick in, regardless of fault for an accident. This allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company for medical bills and potential lost wages, up to the $10,000 limit (in certain circumstances).
So when you are involved in a more serious car accident and your PIP benefits have been exhausted, what happens next?
That is when you must examine the policy of the at-fault driver to determine if they have Bodily Injury Coverage. This coverage is not required in Florida. Now, let’s assume the at-fault driver fails to have this coverage. If you rejected your UM motorist coverage, then you may be out of luck. If you have elected to have UM motorist coverage, then you must make a claim with your insurance company as soon as you can. Many policies require the driver to make a claim for UM coverage within 30 days of the accident. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney review your policy if you have been in an accident. An experienced car accident attorney can assist you in resolving your claim against the potential multiple insurance carriers and zealously represent you, should litigation arise.
The Law Offices of Brandon L. Chase, P.A. represent clients in car accidents throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. If you or a loved one has been injured in an car accident, we are happy to discuss your potential claim in a FREE initial consultation. You can reach the Firm’s Miami office at 305-677-2228 or contact us online.