People ask us this question all the time. The answer is YES! UM/UIM coverage is a necessity for all motor vehicle owners for three main reasons:
1. Florida’s insurance laws do not require motorists to have bodily injury coverage.
Florida’s insurance laws require vehicle owners to purchase no fault insurance and property damage liability coverage only. Florida does not require that a vehicle owner purchase bodily injury liability coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage is the coverage that pays for your injury-related damages (medical bills, wage loss, pain, and suffering, etc.) if the other driver is at fault for a car accident that injures you. Because of that, a motorist who hits you and hurts you can legally drive without bodily injury coverage, leaving you holding the bill for your medical care and other accident-related damages.
2.There are a lot of uninsured motorists in Florida.
According to a 2012 study by the Insurance Information Institute, 23.8% of Florida drivers had no insurance. Florida had the second highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation. You can view that study at http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/uninsured-motorists. Simply put, there are a lot of uninsured drivers traveling along Florida’s roadways. If they hit you and injure you, then you are likely to be stuck paying for your own damages despite not being at fault for the accident with the uninsured driver.
3. Even if a motorist has insurance, they may not have enough.
Even if a motorist purchases bodily injury liability coverage, they will often purchase the cheapest amount available. That usually results in the driver having $10,000 in coverage.
Imagine that you have been hit by a negligent driver and injured. You have suffered broken bones and permanent spinal injuries that will require surgery. You make a claim against the negligent driver thinking that his insurance will pay for your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. You request his insurance information and find out that he only has $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. In that instance, the motorist is an underinsured driver because his $10,000 in less than the value of your claim. In most cases, you would be left without an avenue to recover additional money to compensate you for your damages if you do not have UIM.
Thankfully, there is a solution to the problem of uninsured and underinsured drivers: purchase your own UM/UIM coverage. If the negligent motorist is uninsured, then your UM/UIM coverages will pay for your injury-related damages. If the negligent motorist has insurance but it is not enough to fully compensate you then your UM/UIM coverages will pay for your remaining injury-related damages. Because of this, anytime someone asks us if they should purchase UM/UIM coverage, we advise them to purchase as much UM/UIM coverage as they can fit into their monthly budget.