Quite often, clients will tell us that they have “full coverage” insurance. While that may be good, there is a problem.
“Full coverage” insurance is not the same as “uninsured motorist insurance” (UM).
Let’s discuss the differences between what is called “full coverage” and UMI, so you can better understand why it is important to have UM insurance.
What Does “Full Coverage” Mean?
Frankly, the answer to this question depends on who you ask. If you ask a personal injury attorney, he will generally tell you that “full coverage” refers to the bare minimum accident protection required by law.
In Florida, that means you must carry $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL).
For others, like most laymen and insurance companies, “full coverage” means an insurance policy that protects a driver from most losses caused by an accident. This could include the mandatory PIP and PDL minimums, plus some additional coverage such as collision.
But it does not mean that the policy includes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Which, in turn, means that you may not be covered for all of your losses that can occur in a car accident. If the other driver has no insurance at all, or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your losses, and you do not have UM insurance, you may not be able to recover fully for your losses. Depending on how devastating the accident is, this can be a significant financial burden.
Why Add an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Policy?
As noted above, a general insurance policy (“full coverage” policy) does not, in fact, completely cover your expenses if you are in a car accident.
In fact, what is considered to be “full coverage” provides the bare minimum coverage. If you are in a serious car accident (for example, if you are hit by a semi-truck) your physical injuries can be not just serious, but catastrophic. Given the costs of medical care, Florida’s minimum $10,000 PIP coverage does not go very far in such situations. Even if the other driver has insurance, the minimum coverage is not likely to be enough to cover your personal injury costs.
Plus, full coverage insurance policies contain exclusions that can severely limit what the insurance will pay for. For example, full coverage insurance does not pay for repairs to your car after an accident. It also does not pay to replace your car if it was stolen. And, full coverage may require you to give up certain legal rights, such as the right to sue the other driver, if you want to fully recover for your injuries.
.Also, if you have passengers in the car when you get into an accident, it is possible you could get sued by (one or more of ) your passengers if the other driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover everyone’s costs.
Added to all the above is the fact that according to estimates from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, one in 7 drivers in Florida have no insurance at all. That adds up to millions of uninsured motorists. Millions more have only the bare minimum required by law. So, chances are that if you are in an accident in Florida, the other driver may be not insured or underinsured. All of which translates to you not being able to recover for your injuries and property damages.
For all these reasons, adding UM coverage is a good idea.
UM insurance pays you if the person at fault doesn’t have any —or enough—liability coverage. It can pay for such things as hit-and-run accidents, lost wages, sickness, bodily injury, medical expenses, and diseases arising from the accident.
By adding UM coverage to your car insurance, (especially at higher amounts) you can make sure your coverage truly is “full coverage.”
Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t as simple as it may at first appear. It can be complicated. Your personal injury lawyer can help you understand UM and what policy and policy limits may be best for you.
We are Here to Help.
John Fagan and his experienced team are dedicated to helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of another. Contact us now for your free consultation or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park. We have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.