Pros and Cons of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Florida requires drivers to purchase no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP coverage pays medical bills and wage benefits regardless of whether the insured caused a car accident. However, Florida does not require drivers to purchase bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance unless the driver has caused a car accident resulting in bodily injury or death or committed certain traffic violations (e.g., DUI).
Drivers may voluntarily choose to purchase BIL insurance to protect them from liability if they cause a traffic accident. When you buy this insurance, the company must include an offer of uninsured motorist coverage. However, according to Florida Statute §627.727, you can reject uninsured motorist coverage in writing.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
You are never entirely prepared for a car accident. However, you can take steps to reduce the financial hardship caused by an accident. One way to do so is to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.
Florida has the highest number of uninsured motorists in the country. If a driver who does not have BIL insurance injures you, you could be responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages not covered by your PIP coverage.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you if an uninsured driver causes an accident. The policy compensates you for damages that would normally be covered by the at-fault driver’s BIL coverage.
UM coverage can pay for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
Drivers may also choose to carry underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM pays the difference if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s BIL insurance coverage policy limits.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida?
Uninsured motorist coverage provides an extra layer of protection if an uninsured driver injures you. If you sustain serious injuries that exhaust your PIP benefits, you can file a claim against your UM coverage to receive compensation for damages not covered by PIP.
Another advantage of having UM coverage is that it protects you if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver. UM coverage would also apply if you were a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a motor vehicle.
The only real “con” of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage is the cost of the insurance policy. However, UM coverage is relatively inexpensive compared to the potential benefits.
Everyone is at Risk of a Motor Vehicle Accident
In 2021, there were over 401,000 traffic crashes reported in Florida, resulting in 3,735 traffic deaths and 252,860 injuries. Statistically, there is a good chance that you or your family member will be involved in a traffic accident during your lifetime. Even the safest driver is at risk of a traffic accident because they cannot control the behavior of other drivers.
Therefore, all we can do is take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones when we leave home. Wearing seat belts, motorcycle helmets, and bicycle gear reduces the risk of injuries in a traffic accident. Purchasing insurance coverage to pay for injuries sustained in an accident is another way to protect yourself and your family members.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Clearwater, FL
If you are involved in a traffic accident, pull over to the nearest safe location and call 911. The emergency operator will dispatch police and emergency medical services.
Documenting the accident scene can protect you from liability if you did not cause the accident. It can also help you prove that the other driver caused the crash. Taking photographs, making a video, and asking eyewitnesses for their contact information are all excellent steps to take after a crash.
Do not say that you are “okay” or “fine” at the accident scene. It could be interpreted to mean that you did not sustain injuries, especially if you refuse medical treatment. Instead, say that you will see your doctor for a follow-up after being treated by EMS at the accident scene.
Beware of insurance adjusters who request written or recorded statements. You are not required to provide statements to file a claim. It is best to allow a Clearwater car accident lawyer to handle communications with a claims adjuster.
Continue Medical Treatment and Contact an Experienced Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Continue treatment with your doctor and seek legal advice about your options for filing a claim. Even though Florida is a no-fault insurance state, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver if you sustained serious injuries because of the accident. You may also have a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
The insurance company wants to settle your claim quickly for the lowest amount possible. However, before accepting a settlement offer, make sure you understand your legal rights. Otherwise, you could receive an amount that is much lower than the actual value of your car accident claim.
Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Layers At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,