Do I Need Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Under/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (commonly called UM coverage) is something every car insurance company offers as additional coverage.   While insurance companies in Florida are required to offer a minimum of $10,000 in bodily injury per person, $20,000 per accident, you are not obligated by the state to have it. However, you are entitled to obtain coverage up to the amount of bodily injury coverage you have on your policy, and there are quite a few reasons why this type of coverage can be worth the added cost. A common misconception is that UM insurance will only be available if you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.  However, the “under” insured portion of the policy will be available to you should your damages exceed the policy of the person that hit you.  For example, if the individual involved in your accident only had $10,000 in coverage and you have $100,000 in UM coverage you would be entitled to not only seek $10,000 from the other driver but an additional $100,000 from your own policy. In that scenario, your UM coverage saves you from having to come out of pocket for the difference left after the responsible party’s policy has been exhausted. Perhaps one of its greatest benefits, UM insurance will also be available in the event you are the victim of a hit and run accident. 

Now you might ask yourself, “What are the odds that I am the victim of a hit and run? Or that I will be hit by an uninsured, or underinsured motorist?”. The answer is higher than you may think….according to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, Florida ranks 6th in the country for the number of uninsured drivers at 20.4%, which is substantially higher than the national average of 13%.  That means one out of every five drivers who are on the road in Florida are driving without any insurance.  In Florida, drivers are considered “insured” with limits as low as $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident for bodily injury. 49% of Florida auto insurance policies have limits of $25,000 per person or lower.  These lower policy amounts wouldn’t cover a hospital visit if you, or someone you love, were involved in a serious accident. If that ever were the case, and you had adequate UM coverage, it would be available to you, saving an already difficult time from becoming even more challenging.

Now that we have discussed the benefits of having UM coverage when you’re involved in an accident with the underinsured, what if the at-fault party has no insurance? You can still file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and receive a court awarded judgment against them, but it could end up being just that. Let’s say you do win a judgment and the defendant does not have enough money to pay you the amount awarded by the judgment; you are likely never going to see any of the money you are rightfully owed.  You have the option to return to court to seek an order that requires payment, but you are going to have a hard time finding a lawyer who is willing to file a lawsuit against a party who obviously has no money to recover for their client.  This is exactly why it is important to carry your own UM motorist coverage, so if you find yourself in the situation mentioned above you are at least able to cover the various costs associated with an accident through your own UM policy. In addition to the scenarios already outlined…

UM coverage can pay for things such as:

  • Medical bills

  • Loss of future enjoyment of life

  • Lost wages and disability

  • Long term nursing care

  • Wheelchairs and medical devices

  • Pain & suffering

  • Death

  • Replacement services for things you are no longer able to do, yard service, cleaning, etc.

So, if you can afford the additional monthly cost, we highly recommend having UM insurance to ensure you’re covered no matter what the situation of the individual responsible for the accident may be. There is a common saying, “It is better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”, and it couldn’t hold truer when it comes to UM coverage

We at Woolsey Morcom hope you never need our services, but if you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation about your claim.  We have attorneys on standby who will speak with you and let you know what your rights are.  Call us first at 904-638-4235 or fill out our online submission form here and someone will be in touch with you soon to answer your questions.

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