I have an auto insurance policy. Do I need Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist coverage?
If you own a vehicle and have a valid Florida license plate, the state of Florida requires you to have a minimum of $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL). But what does that really mean for you?
PDL is the insurance coverage that pays for the damage to the other personâ€™s vehicle due to a motor vehicle accident. PIP Insurance, or Florida No Fault Insurance, covers up to $10,000 of your medical expenses and lost wages. PIP Insurance insures you whether you cause the accident or not, protects you as a pedestrian, if you are riding in someone elseâ€™s car, and even insures you if you are a bicyclist and suffer injury from a motor vehicle. While these benefits seem to provide sufficient coverage, there are some factors to acknowledge. PIP only covers up to 80% of medical bills. The other 20% of expenses should be paid from Bodily Injury Liability coverage, or Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist coverage. However, the state of Florida does not require Bodily Injury Liability coverage, which would cover the costs of injuries to the other party in the event of an accident.
Consider this example. Mark has insured his blue sedan, but elected not to get Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist coverage. On a bright sunny day, Mark is driving down the highway when he notices a stray bumper left behind on the road ahead of him. He quickly steps on his brake pedal to warn the driver behind him of his sudden need to stop. Unfortunately, the driver behind him was speeding and crashed directly into the rear of Markâ€™s car. Mark received injuries that cost him $25,000 in medical expenses. However, the driver who hit him was driving an uninsured vehicle, thus he had no Bodily Injury Liability coverage. Markâ€™s PIP coverage only paid $10,000 and he was left with $15,000 in bills to deal with on his own. Not only does he have to deal with the pain of his physical injuries, but his medical bills are in collections and he is swimming in debt for an accident he did not cause.
It is so important to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in order to avoid situations like Markâ€™s. The Insurance Research Council reported that about 25% of drivers in Florida are uninsured (almost every 1 in 4 drivers!). Uninsured Motorist Coverage protects you from uninsured drivers in the case of injury. If Mark had UM Coverage, he could have acquired the benefits from that coverage to aid him in his remaining $15,000 in expenses. When it comes down to your financial security and personal well-being, it is important to consider obtaining Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Motor accidents cause enough devastation on their own. Preparation is the key to protecting your future safety and welfare.
In the case of an auto related accident, we are here to help you receive full benefits from the insurance company and determine whether you can file a claim for any further compensation. No matter the circumstance, you will be treated with respect and receive effective representation that puts you first. If you have any questions, please fill out the â€œContact Vinson Law Officeâ€ box, or call our office at (813) 839-5708.