What to Know About Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, also known as UM or UIM coverage is automobile liability coverage which may help pay for damages or injuries should you be in an accident caused by someone with no automobile insurance or a hit-and-run driver.
In some states, uninsured motorist coverage is required, but in Florida it is optional; however, automobile insurance companies must offer uninsured or underinsured coverage.
Let’s explore what you need to know about uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
What Happens If You Have an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
With approximately one in eight drivers in the country uninsured, an accident with an uninsured driver is possible. In the event of this type of accident or a hit-and-run accident, uninsured motorist coverage could pay your medical bills and repair your vehicle’s damage.
Uninsured motorist insurance is offered in two types – uninsured and underinsured. Sometimes uninsured includes both or they may be purchased separately. Here’s the difference:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage is responsible for your medical expenses resulting from your injury in a collision with an at fault driver who has no liability insurance. It may also protect a family member driving your vehicle or passengers, depending on the policy.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage is responsible for the cost of reparations to your vehicle after an accident with an at fault uninsured driver.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage is similar to Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage except in this case the accident was caused by a driver without sufficient coverage. Underinsured is defined uniquely in each state but generally means a driver with automobile liability insurance but limited coverage, i.e. limits too low to cover your expenses or limits equal to or less than your underinsured motorist coverage limits. Underinsured motorist coverage pays, up to your policy limit, the difference between limits, and cost of injuries and damages.
Should You Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Since it is optional in Florida, the choice is ultimately yours. You may not need uninsured motorist property damage coverage if you have collision insurance. Why? Collision insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your care if it is damaged during an accident with another car, regardless of who is found at fault. It also often covers single car accidents.
Collision insurance does not cover injuries, which means you may want to consider uninsured bodily injury coverage to avoid paying medical expenses out of pocket following an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. For many individuals, the decision is based on how much they could afford out of pocket should an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver occur compared to the cost of uninsured motorist coverage.
Generally, uninsured motorist coverage can be used to pay medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and funeral expenses; and depending on the policy, damage to your vehicle. There are limits, which vary from state to state and are expressed 10/20, which indicates $10,000 bodily injury coverage per person/$20,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. In some instances, you can rely on health insurance coverage after uninsured motorist coverage is exhausted.
What About a Hit-And-Run?
A hit-and-run accident, one in which the driver leaves the scene without any exchange of information, can occur between cars, a car and a pedestrian, or a car and property. In most cases, uninsured motorist insurance covers damages if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
Uninsured motorist property damage pays for vehicle and property repairs while uninsured motorists bodily injury pays for medical expenses. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, do not attempt to chase the other driver, instead pull over and make sure you and your passengers are safe. Record all the details you remember, recording the time and location of the accident. Take photos and call the police first, and contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
Auto Insurance in Florida
Drivers residing in Florida are required to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance – $10,000 PDL (property damage liability) and $10,000 PIP (personal injury protection also called Florida no-fault insurance. PDL covers damage caused by a driver to another’s property following a collision. PIP pays a portion of medical expenses and lost wages from injuries in a collision. As mentioned, Florida does require drivers to carry bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist insurance, or underinsured motorist coverage. This is unlike most states which require drivers to carry bodily injury liability in the event they cause a collision which results in critical injuries and are sued by those injured.
Given the fact that everyone is at risk for an auto accident, bodily injury liability coverage can protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit, while uninsured motorist insurance or underinsured motorist coverage will cover your losses should you be injured in an accident with a driver who has no insurance or inadequate coverage. Never assume it won’t happen to you, because on average, individuals are in three to four car accidents in their lifetime. In fact, in Florida, the incidence of uninsured drivers is higher than the national average – with one in four driving without insurance.
If You Have Been Injured in an Automobile Accident
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Florida by a driver without insurance or by a hit-and-run driver, it is crucial after you get the necessary medical treatment that you contact a trusted, experienced Florida car accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected in regard to future compensation for your injuries and damages.