And do you really need it?
Car insurance is pricey and premiums are only going up. Part of that is because prices across the whole insurance industry are increasing, which is partially due to more and more accidents occurring and claims being filed.
Unfortunately, many of those accidents involve uninsured motorists.
If you’re in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance (or they fled the scene), you’re going to have a difficult time getting compensated for your losses.
Even though having car insurance is required for all drivers, many people disregard this law. Recent studies estimate 13% of drivers in the US and 20% in Florida are actually uninsured. That’s why all states recommend—and some require—all auto policies include uninsured motorist coverage.
So let’s dive into what uninsured motorist coverage is so you fully understand what it covers and how much you should have.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) protects you in the unfortunate event of an accident with an uninsured driver or in the case of a hit-and-run. Simply put, if you are involved in an accident, and the other driver is at fault but does not have insurance, your UM coverage steps in to cover your expenses.
This policy typically covers two areas: bodily injury (UMBI) and property damage (UMPD).
UMBI pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering caused by the accident, while UMPD covers the damage inflicted on your car. In some states, UMPD isn’t available, and in some states, it’s included in the UMBI policy.
Because Florida is also a no fault state, you’re required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection and at least $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. PIP covers only your own medical expenses while PDL covers only damages to another person’s property.
PDL would not cover damages to your own car while PIP will not cover medical expenses for your passengers, which is why it’s important to consider adding UM coverage to your policy.
Having UMBI also means that if your own medical costs exceed your PIP coverage, you don’t have to resort to paying out of pocket or suing the other driver right away.
Uninsured motorist coverage is an excellent safety net because you cannot always count on other drivers to be responsible. And in Florida, there are so many drivers—from tourists to rideshare drivers—that the likelihood of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is pretty high.
Do You Really Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
UM coverage isn’t required by law, but—given the prevalence of uninsured drivers—it is highly recommended. Ultimately, whether or not you add the coverage and how much of it depends on your specific situation.
Many people think that if they have comprehensive health insurance and robust collision coverage, the benefits offered by UM coverage are redundant. Your health insurance would cover your medical bills, and collision coverage would pay for car repairs, right?
Unlike health insurance, UM coverage can compensate for your lost wages and the pain and suffering after an accident as well. Similarly, the deductible for UMPD is typically lower than the collision deductible.
Finally, adding uninsured motorist coverage to your existing policy is generally quite affordable, so you won’t have to worry about increasing your premium too much. And when you consider the potential out-of-pocket expenses you could face without it, it’s a very smart investment.
What About Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Much like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage does exactly what it sounds like. It protects you if you’re in an accident with a driver who only has the bare minimum insurance policy and your damages exceed their policy limits.
Like UM, it covers both bodily injury and property damage.
Without underinsured motorist coverage, you would be required to pay out of pocket for any expenses that exceed the other driver’s policy. One way to cover these expenses is to file a lawsuit, but that can be a very long and arduous process.
If you have UMI however, it would step in to cover those additional expenses up to your policy amount.
Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is not required, but the cost of adding it is typically not very high, and if you ever have to use it, you’ll understand how beneficial it is.
Some states, like Florida, do not actually offer underinsured motorist coverage as it is included with uninsured motorist coverage.
Get the Right Auto Coverage at the Right Cost
Ultimately, having uninsured motorist coverage is about protecting yourself from the unknown—the unknown being you can never know when you’ll be in an accident and what kind of insurance the other driver will have.
When it comes to insurance, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. And if you’re worried about the increased cost, that’s where Brown Insurance Services comes in.
As an independent insurance agency, we work to get you the best possible auto coverage to fit your lifestyle and your budget. Contact us today to make sure you’re not the one driving around with the bare bones car insurance.