Uninsured Motorist Coverage
One afternoon we had a client come into our office whose daughter had died as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The at-fault party was driving with no bodily injury coverage to pay for any of the medical bills, funeral costs, or loss of consortium for her daughter’s husband and children who were left behind. When I asked if her daughter had Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage they looked at me with a blank stare and had no idea what I was talking about.
I was tasked with the job of explaining to these grieving parents that their son‑in-law and grandchildren were not going to be able to recover any monetary damages from the insurance companies even though their daughter had suffered a fatal crash at no fault of her own. They did not understand why. If she had been paying for insurance coverage all these months and years throughout her life, why would the insurance company not give her the money that she has been paying for? They did not understand the value of underinsured motorist coverage being part of their auto insurance policy. Don’t make the same mistake they did, because it is heartbreaking when tragedy strikes and you realize your insurance coverage does not cover the most important people in your life.
The Difference Between Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Bodily injury coverage (BI) is the auto insurance you have to cover other parties’ injuries in an accident that you may be liable.
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is auto insurance that covers your injuries when you are injured by the fault of someone else who does not have enough insurance to pay for the damages you sustained.
In short: BI covers other people and UM covers you.
Depending on the year you purchased your auto insurance policy, and depending on the company you buy your auto insurance policy with, adding UM coverage to your plan costs somewhere between $50 and $250 per six months.
That’s less than $5.00 a month in some cases.
Yet many insurance agents will tell their clients, (you), that you can save money by rejecting this UM coverage that you really don’t need. Everyone wants to save money, so most people agree to reject this UM coverage.
However, if you think about it, for approximately $5 to $20 a month, you can be protecting yourself in car accidents when at-fault drivers do not have enough insurance to cover your injuries. Basically, you’re paying to make sure other people’s injuries are covered in car accidents but not your own.
Approximately 19 states currently require some form of UM coverage in America, Florida not being one of them.
The states that require some form of UM are Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina.
Most people think that auto insurance is mandatory in Florida because Florida law only requires no‑fault coverage. In other words, the only requirement is to have $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) in order to satisfy the auto insurance requirement in Florida. That means people driving cars in Florida are not even required to have BI coverage to cover injuries they may cause by their negligent driving, which is just more proof that UM coverage is a must in Florida.
Many people think insurance isn’t important until they need it. Let this article be a warning that you need UM coverage. I urge everyone reading this to call their insurance agent today and confirm that you have UM coverage and if you don’t, add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.