As a driver, you know that there are certain prerequisites for getting behind the wheel: you need a license, a vehicle, fuel, and insurance. It can seem like a no-brainer. You drive, you get insured. But one in eight US drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle accident is underinsured or uninsured. In Florida, nearly 24% of drivers do not carry insurance. This decision does not impact them alone: if you are in an accident with a driver with little or no coverage, you are left holding the bag financially. But is uninsured motorist coverage in Florida mandatory?
Is There a Florida Uninsured Motorist Statute?
Florida has the dubious distinction of being number 2 in the country in terms of uninsured drivers with nearly a quarter of the driving population not carrying coverage. That state requires that drivers obtain a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Now, Florida is a “no-fault” state: your minimum coverage pays for expenses related to injury and property damage regardless of who is at fault for the accident. But the state’s minimums are very low. If you suffer a serious injury, you may be looking at medical bills that far exceed the $10,000 limit. In this case, your PIP would cover the first $10,000 and the remainder would be covered by the at-fault party’s insurance.
But what happens when that party does not have insurance? In non-legal terms, you’re between a rock and a hard place, and you’ll have to find a way to pay a mountain of expenses. This is where underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. If you are in an accident with someone who does not have adequate insurance or any insurance at all, this policy protects you financially.
There are two types of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage you can get:
Bottom line: if you are in an accident with someone who is at-fault and has no insurance at all, uninsured motorist coverage kicks in to protect you. And, if you are in an accident with someone who has a policy with limits that are too low to cover your medical expenses and/or property damage, underinsured motorist coverage activates.
So no, according to the letter of the law, you do not have to carry underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance; there is no Florida uninsured motorist statute. But realistically, the odds of being involved in an accident with someone who has no or inadequate insurance are high. Protect yourself by opting for this coverage; when you compare the cost of exorbitant medical expenses and property damage to a relatively low monthly premium, it is a sound financial decision.
If you have questions or have been involved in a car accident, please do not hesitate to contact Clayton Trial Lawyers. We are here to help ensure your rights are protected and provide aggressive legal representation to each and every client.