Florida is one of the states that allows a driver to not have any bodily injury coverage. Let’s say you are stopped at a red light. A negligent driver busy talking on his cell phone runs into the rear end of your vehicle which causes you severe injury. There is no question your rear lights were on and in good working order. You also had your seatbelt on. So there is no question that the negligent driver is at fault for the auto accident. But guess what? The negligent driver that just ran into your car has no liability insurance. So you cannot file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company.
This is allowed and perfectly legal in Florida. In other words, no one is required to have liability coverage for others. Now it’s true that you can sue them personally, but usually the negligent driver has minimal assets to go after.
So what can you do to get paid for your bodily injuries including your pain and suffering? You can claim against your policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage. Under Florida law, when you buy insurance, the insurance company is required to offer you the same amount of UM as the amount of bodily injury coverage you carry to cover other people. In other words, if I buy a $50,000.00 bodily injury policy and then I rear end somebody, my company will pay them up to $50,000.00 Uninsured Motorist. Why is that?
I believe that a deal was struck when Florida allowed people to have zero bodily injury coverage and still be legal to drive.The insurance companies said for those who buy the coverage, we’ll offer them the same amount of underinsurance protection. It still wasn’t a good deal when you keep in mind the latest—you can decrease your premium if you decrease your UM. But I suggest you DO NOT do it. It’s not worth it. You need your UM because of all the zero bodily injury drivers out there.
MYTH: You don’t need Uninsured Motorist Coverage because you have health insurance.
FACT: This is simply not true. Your health insurance won’t ever pay you for pain and suffering and won’t cover all your medical treatment.
So the moral of the story is as unconscionable as it is–you live in a state that allows people to have ZERO bodily injury coverage.
Rule of thumb—Get the most Bodily Injury coverage you can afford and never waive or decrease your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. That may be the only coverage that will protect YOU!
If you have been involved in an auto accident and need our services, please give our office a call.