Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Florida?

Definition of Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is an additional component of an auto insurance policy that provides coverage when you’re involved in an accident with a driver who either does not have insurance or whose insurance is insufficient to cover the damages they’ve caused. This type of coverage is crucial for protecting yourself against financial losses resulting from accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers.

Importance of UM Coverage in Florida

Florida’s insurance requirements are minimal, with drivers only mandated to carry Property Damage Liability (PD) of at least $10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of at least $10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident. These requirements do not adequately protect Florida motorists from the financial implications of car accidents. Bodily Injury Protection (BI) and Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) are not required by Florida law, leaving many drivers vulnerable.

Legal Requirements for Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida

Florida does not mandate motorists to carry Uninsured Motorist coverage. However, given the high rate of uninsured drivers in the state—20.4% according to 2021 statistics from the Insurance Research Council (IRC)—UM coverage becomes almost essential for comprehensive protection.

Minimum UM Coverage Requirements in Florida

While there are no minimum UM coverage requirements in Florida, it is highly recommended that drivers opt for this coverage to safeguard against the financial risks posed by uninsured or underinsured motorists.

Consequences of Not Having UM Coverage in Florida

Without UM coverage, Florida drivers face significant financial risks. In the event of an accident with an uninsured driver, or if the other driver’s insurance is insufficient, the financial burden of medical bills, property damage, and other expenses falls on the victim.

Benefits of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

UM coverage offers financial protection against uninsured or underinsured drivers, covering medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs that may not be fully covered by PIP or the at-fault driver’s insurance. It also provides coverage in hit-and-run scenarios, which are notably common in Florida, with nearly one in three accidents being a hit-and-run.

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works in Florida

When involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM coverage steps in to cover the expenses that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits or in cases where the at-fault driver has no insurance at all. This includes coverage for medical expenses, property damage, and more.

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist (UM) Protection in Florida?

Given the high rate of uninsured drivers in Florida and the state’s minimal insurance requirements, UM coverage is highly recommended. It provides an essential layer of financial protection in accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers. Opting for UM coverage and considering “stacking” options for policies with multiple vehicles can offer even greater protection and value.

Florida drivers are required by law to have Property Damage Liability (PD) of at least $10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident as well as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of at least $10,000 per person/ $20,000 per accident.  These minimal coverage requirements are among the lowest of any state and certainly not adequate to protect Florida motorists from injuries and damages sustained in a car accident. 

Florida does not require motorists to carry Bodily Injury Protection (BI) or required to purchase Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM). That is not even the worst part.

According to the 2021 statistics from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), Florida is the sixth worst state for uninsured motorists at 20.4%. That means one in 5 drivers on Florida Highways have NO INSURANCE at all! Usually, drivers that carry no insurance are also more likely not have any other assets from which to collect damages.

Others states percentage of uninsured motorists range from a high of 29.4% in Mississippi to a low of 3.1% in New Jersey.  

According to David Corum, Vice President of the Insurance Research Council (IRC), “Uninsured drivers increase the cost of insurance for those who comply with their states insurance requirements and that is not fair. Keeping auto insurance affordable is more difficult when a significant number of drivers refuse to carry their fair share of all costs.”

If you were in an accident in Florida, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage would cover you for expenses if the other driver did not have any insurance or if your expenses exceeded his coverage limits. If the other driver only held the minimal coverage of $10,000; it might not even be enough to cover your Emergency Room visit! There also might not be enough funds available to get your car repaired even if there were no injuries. 

 Uninsured Motorist protection may cover you in a hit-and-run scenario. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) Crash Dashboard in 2022:

All Crashes: 366,076

Hit-and-Run Crashes: 98,539

Hit-and-Run Fatalities: 241

Hit-and-Run Injuries: 21,358

Nearly one in three accidents in Florida is a hit-and-run (26.9%). 

If I have medical insurance, why would I need UM protection? Your medical costs may only be just a fraction of your expenses after a car accident. Consider other possible expenses such as pain and suffering, long-term care, medical devices such as wheelchair, hospital bed or modifications needed to your home, lost wages and disability, services that you can no longer do yourself such as lawn care, cleaning, bathing and even death.

The single most important step you can take to protect yourself is to add uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to your policy today.   Even better, if your insurance policy has multiple vehicles, make sure you “stack” the coverage to get even more value and protection. If you have been involved in a car accident, it is advisable to speak to a car accident attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected.   Lipinski Law is always happy to answer any coverage questions you may have, including the benefits of UM coverage.

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