IF YOU WERE INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT TOMORROW, ARE YOU POSITIVE YOU WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT CAR INSURANCE?
Tons of drivers on Florida roads do not have insurance at all or the kind of insurance necessary. Florida is an odd state where the law only requires you to carry $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 Property Damage (PD) liability coverage. PIP is the coverage that pays for your medical treatment after you were involved in a car accident. PD is the coverage that pays for damage you caused to another vehicle. What is odd about Florida’s minimum requirements? The state doesn’t require drivers to purchase coverage that insures against injury! This is a big problem in Florida.
Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is the coverage that you can purchase to cover another driver’s injuries. Majority of the states in the country require one to purchase BI, except Florida where’s its optional. BI coverage pays for serious or permanent injury or death. This coverage also provides for legal defense. Clients often come to our office for help and we quickly discover that the driver who hit them does not have BI. Absent the at-fault driver having significant personal assets (which are typically well protected in Florida) there is simply nowhere to recover money on their behalf. It is unfortunate, but you can blame the local government for that. In the end, purchasing BI gives you important financial protection in case you are the at-fault driver. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone thought that way? What do we do with that morale hazard?
Well if you are going to buy BI insurance to protect other drivers, then why wouldn’t you purchase coverage to pay for your own damages aside from the PIP coverage of $10,000? Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage should be purchased by every driver in the State of Florida. UM is the type of coverage that you can buy to pay for your damages if the at-fault driver either lacks BI coverage or has an insufficient amount of BI coverage. UM coverage comes in two forms: stacked and unstacked. The UM limit on an auto insurance policy applies per vehicle or unstacked. If you have multiple vehicles the UM coverage can be stacked, giving you the ability to use the limit the limits from the multiple vehicles against losses from an accident in any one of the vehicles.
UM coverage is either purchased at the point of sale of your auto insurance or is rejected by signature. Most Floridian’s reject it this coverage when buying from insurance companies directly and do not even realize what they are doing it. Next time you buy auto insurance or make a payment make sure to consult with an independent agent to review both Bodily Injury (BI) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverages.
There are bills every year or so that get sent around the Florida Legislature which would require all Florida drivers to purchase BI and repeal the mandatory PIP requirement, but don’t wait for local politicians to come to their senses. Check your policy and make sure you have the right coverage in case you get in a car accident.
This post is offered by Eric Mausner, Esq. of ERIC MAUSNER LAW, P.A. We can help you if you have suffered a personal injury. Call our law firm today 305-800-TORT (8678) or click on www.mausnerlawfirm.com. Our consultations are free.