Florida law requires drivers to carry two types of insurance– Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) Insurance. In the event of an auto accident, PIP will pay up to $10,000.00 of expenses incurred as a result of the accident, regardless of who is at fault. Thus, if you are injured in a car accident, it will likely be your PIP insurance that will compensate you for your expenses. PDL coverage will come from the driver who is at fault and will cover up to $10,000.00 if you or your passengers are injured. That is, if the driver at fault even has insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
The current economic downturn has taken a toll on the amount of Florida drivers who purchase this insurance required by law. In 2009, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council reported that approximately 23 percent of Florida drivers were uninsured. This means that nearly 1 out of 4 four Florida drivers are breaking the law and driving without insurance. In the event of an auto accident, it is not a safe bet that the driver at fault has adequate or any insurance at all to help pay for your expenses if you or your passengers are injured.
This generates a number of problems if you are injured in a car accident. First, there is a very good chance that you will be left with just your PIP insurance that only provides up to $10,000.00 in coverage. Injuries caused by an accident can be very serious–often affecting the neck, spine and other areas of the back. As a result, medical bills can quickly exceed $10,000.00. Even if expenses are $10,000.00 or less, you will not receive full coverage from PIP. PIP only pays up to 80 percent of medically necessary expenses, 60 percent of lost wages, and up to $5,000 for death benefits. The limitation of PIP insurance does not stop there. Insurance companies will find any reason to avoid paying part or any of the expenses resulting from an accident.
Following an accident, you may find yourself in a difficult battle against your insurance company to receive the limited amount of coverage PIP provides that you deserve. Even if PIP does provide coverage, you will still have remaining expenses.
Next, even if the driver that caused the accident has PDL insurance, it may not be enough to cover the injuries of you and your passengers. Many drivers have inadequate insurance or have none at all. Additionally, PIP is unlikely to cover all of your injuries. As a result, the following question remains: who is going to pay the remaining amount of your medical bills and other expenses?
This is where Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) insurance comes in handy. Though not required by law, we strongly recommend Florida drivers purchase UM insurance. UM coverage protects drivers when the other driver either doesn’t have enough auto insurance or any insurance at all. If you or your passengers are injured in a car accident, UM insurance will make up the difference between your PIP insurance and your expenses. UM pays for medical expenses and lost wages after your PIP coverage is exhausted. This coverage also includes payment for pain and suffering if you have a permanent injury or death which is something PIP does not cover.
Why You Should Get Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Times are tough and unfortunately many Florida drivers are taking the cheap route when it comes to auto insurance. This poses the substantial risk that you and your passengers will not have the protection needed in the event of a car accident. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, speak to an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys face insurance companies that are reluctant to provide policy holders with the compensation they deserve every day. They also work with accident victims injured by uninsured or underinsured drivers. They know the rights of accident victims and will fight for those rights.