Signing up for automobile insurance can be a long, boring, and sometimes stressful task for most people. What is the year, make, and model of your car? Who will be driving? Have you been in an accident? By the time you reach the end of the paperwork, you’re ready to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the end of this process is usually when your insurance representative will ask if you’d like to include UM insurance to your policy. Many people sign the rejection letter with glazed-over eyes without ever questioning what UM coverage is, and unfortunately, they could be making a mistake.
What is UM coverage, and why is it so important to have? Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM) is applied when an at-fault party either doesn’t have liability coverage, or their liability coverage is inadequate to pay for your injuries, pain, and suffering. UM coverage is usually expressed in digits instead of words and can be stacked depending on how many cars are on your policy. In Florida, the minimum UM coverage (if you opt in for it) is $10,000. So, if you have 2 cars with the minimum UM coverage, it would look like this – UM 10/20. If you’re in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, you now have the ability to recover up to $20,000 if they do not have the liability coverage to pay for your pain, suffering, and medical bills.
You may be thinking “Okay, so what? If I don’t have UM coverage, I just won’t get as much in recovery if an accident happens.” Wrong. The reason It’s so important here is because Florida is a no-fault state, and drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP). Florida drivers do not have to have ANY liability coverage on their policy. In fact, in 2014, a study done by the Insurance Research Council estimated that 15-25% of drivers in Florida were driving uninsured. To read the full study, click here.
With the results of this study, 1 in 4 times, the driver that causes an accident will not have any insurance coverage to cover your loss, which could leave you injured with medical bills piling up at no fault of your own. The good news is, UM coverage can be added to your policy at a relatively nominal additional cost. When adding or renewing your auto insurance, we recommend you think about obtaining UM coverage as it can help protect you financially in the event of a crash. No one can ever predict getting into an accident, but you can at least be prepared and protected.