Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage is an often-poorly-understood automobile insurance coverage that can be a huge benefit to a family following a serious car accident. UM coverage is generally the only way that a person can fully protect himself and his family if an at-fault driver in an accident has no, or very little, bodily injury liability coverage to pay for personal injury damages. Essentially, UM coverage “stands in the shoes” of the negligent driver and pays the damages that the negligent driver would normally have to pay if he carried adequate liability insurance.
UM coverage is generally not aggressively sold by insurance agents because insurance companies often don’t make much profit from UM coverage. In fact, some of the lesser automobile insurance companies don’t even sell UM coverage. Nevertheless, a responsible vehicle owner should insist upon as much UM coverage as he or she can afford.
Florida UM coverage works like this: An accident victim is rear-ended at high speed, and suffers a herniated disc in his neck that requires surgery. The at-fault, rear-ending driver has bodily injury liability coverage, but only $25,000.00, and no assets. Even though the accident victim is eventually paid the at-fault driver’s $25,000.00 bodily injury liability policy limits, the accident victim still has unpaid medical bills, is missing time from work, and will never return to doing the things she enjoyed before her injuries.
If the accident victim does not have UM, the $25,000.00 from the at-fault driver is all she is going to be able to recover. However, the accident victim in this example was wise enough to purchase $100,000.00 in UM coverage,
Since the overall value of the accident victim’s claim is worth more than the available bodily injury coverage of the at-fault driver, the at-fault driver is “uninsured/underinsured” under Florida law, so the accident victim’s insurance company will be asked to pay its $100,000.00 UM limits to the accident victim.
Statistically, we know that more and more people in Florida are driving without any insurance coverage – much less adequate coverage to fully compensate someone if they become significantly injured. As economic conditions continue to be difficult in Florida, it is a good bet that vehicle owners will cut coverage where they can. UM coverage thus becomes more essential to the wise consumer.
If you need help wading through the complex and confusing world of car insurance, please do not hesitate to call us, your Orlando accident attorneys.