Insurance companies and personal injury attorneys aren’t exactly known for getting along. It’s time to change that perception. I’m here to help sell their product by telling you there is one coverage you are going to want to make sure you purchase.
For many vehicle owners, shopping for insurance can be as frustrating as the car-buying experience itself. Why does it cost so much? What coverages am I required to have? If those are the only coverages I am required to have, why am I paying for all of those other coverages? Insurance agents have found that the best way to beat a competitor’s price is to cut coverages. Be aware, if an agent tells you that you don’t need uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage, RUN!
Bodily Injury Insurance
Bodily injury (“BI”) liability coverage provides compensation to those injured by the fault of another. A mind-blowing fact to many, Florida Law does not require motorists to purchase BI coverage. As a result, many people do not carry BI. The vast majority of people that do not carry BI also do not have collectable assets to pay for the injuries that they cause. If you are hurt by someone without BI coverage, you could find yourself in dire financial straits due to no fault of your own and without any meaningful recourse.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In order to protect yourself, since Florida drivers are not required to carry BI, it is imperative that you carry UM. In the event that the at-fault party does not have sufficient BI to cover your damages, uninsured motorist coverage is then referred to as underinsured motorist coverage. This is particularly helpful since many people that do carry BI only carry it at minimal policy limits.
One of the toughest aspects of my job as a personal injury attorney is telling severely injured clients that there is nothing I can do to help them because there is no insurance coverage. Without BI or UM available, there is typically nothing that can be done by an attorney, no matter how good the attorney, to help an injured person seeking compensation.
I find that it is helpful to provide an example so that people can easily see the effects of sufficient automobile insurance coverage, or the lack thereof. For this example, please assume that Mr. Smith’s case is worth $100,000. Now take a look at the following scenarios:
- The at-fault party has no BI and Mr. Smith has no UM.
- Mr. Smith is unable to make any recovery and has experienced a $100,000 loss.
- The at-fault party has no BI and Mr. Smith has $25,000 in UM.
- Mr. Smith has still experienced a loss, but it has been reduced to a $75,000 loss.
- The at-fault party has $10,000 in BI and Mr. Smith has $100,000 in UM.
- Mr. Smith recouped $10,000 from BI and $90,000 from UM. Fortunately, Mr. Smith was not underinsured for this accident and was able to recover his total damages.
Insuring Multiple Vehicles
One last thing about UM, if you have multiple vehicles, choose stacking instead of non-stacking. The UM coverage limits will be multiplied by the number of vehicles you have on the policy. For example, a $10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident UM selection with 3 vehicles on the policy turns into $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident available. The cost of stacking is typically minimal compared to the increased benefits provided. Protect yourselves from those that are not protecting you. Purchase UM.