It’s estimated that one in five of Florida’s licensed drivers do not carry Bodily Injury Liability (BI) insurance and over 40% of vehicles older than 15 years are completely uninsured. You might be thinking: What does this mean to me?
Well, it means that when you buy new auto insurance or renew your current policy, you should say “YES” to Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage.
If you or a family member is involved in a crash with an uninsured driver and you don’t have UM coverage, you lose your ability to recover for pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and lost wages. Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and health insurance only pay the bills you have received for the extent of your injuries today, not for any future losses attributed to the accident.
Florida law requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which compensates the insured driver and household members for medical treatment regardless of who is at fault in an accident. PIP covers the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and incidental costs associated with medical care – but not pain and suffering, future medical care, future loss of earnings, or disability. PIP coverage is usually limited to $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits.
Bodily Injury Liability coverage provides coverage for claims made against you for bodily injury. Florida law does not require BI coverage to be purchased, so if you are injured in a traffic accident with a driver who does not carry BI, your recovery is limited to your own PIP coverage, unless you have an Uninsured Motorist policy.
In Florida, if you elect to carry Bodily Injury Liability insurance, the law requires that the insurance company also provides Uninsured Motorist coverage, unless you expressly reject it. By law, insurance companies must fully advise you of the nature of UM coverage and offer coverage equal to the Bodily Injury Liability limits on a stacked basis unless lower limits are requested or the coverage is rejected. Stackable coverage means that the UM coverage on multiple vehicles in your household can be increased by stacking the coverage on top of one another. For example, if the policy provided stacking UM coverage of $100,000 per person / $300,000 per incident on each of three vehicles, then the total coverage available for injury caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver would be $300,000 per person / $900,000 per incident. You may reject UM entirely, reject just the stacking feature, or choose lower limits, but I highly recommend against it. Stacked UM insurance usually costs more, but it provides broader coverage.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS, YOU SHOULD CARRY STACKED UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE THE BROADEST PROTECTION ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, IN ANY VEHICLE IF YOU ARE INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT DUE TO THE NEGLIGENCE OF AN UNINSURED MOTORIST.