Do You Have The Right Kind of Insurance?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2.3 million people were either killed or injured on America’s highways in 2015. As a practicing attorney for over 27 years, all too frequently I see injured persons seeking legal help with our firm for injuries and even death caused by drivers without auto insurance. There are millions of these kinds of drivers operating motor vehicles on the streets of Florida every day. In addition to the drivers who have no insurance whatsoever, there are even more drivers who only have the minimum required by Florida law. Section 627.733 of Florida’s so-called “No Fault Law” requires that an owner of an automobile only have the minimum amount of insurance in order to legally operate that car on the roads of Florida. The minimum amount required does not include what is called “Bodily Injury Liability Insurance”. Also known as “BI coverage”, Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is extra insurance, purchased by the car owner, which provides insurance for claims made by people injured by that owner’s negligence, or by the negligence of someone who that owner gives permission to drive that insured car. As if that was not bad enough, the amount of BI coverage purchased is frequently very low-usually only $10,000. And so, too many times we have severely injured people come to us who have been injured in car crashes caused by negligent drivers driving automobiles with either no BI coverage or very low limits of BI coverage.

Fortunately, Florida law allows insurance companies to offer insurance to the public to protect them in the event they are injured or killed by a driver of a car with no BI or with only low limits of BI coverages. So called “UM Insurance” is additional coverage that you can purchase from your auto insurance carrier which provides extra insurance for you and your family if the at fault driver in your crash has no BI or only low limits of BI coverage. When the at fault driver has no BI coverage, that driver and owner are considered by Florida law to be “Uninsured” . When the driver and owner have a very low limit BI policy they are considered “Underinsured”. The UM Insurance that you may purchase provides you and your family insurance coverages for both “Uninsured” and “Underinsured” at fault drivers and owners who injure (or worse) you or your family.

Obviously, the question of how much insurance to purchase is a personal financial decision on everyone’s part. That said, with the millions of uninsured and underinsured drivers operating vehicles on Florida’s highways every day, there truly is merit to the phrase: “You can never have enough insurance”. But an equally important question to ask and answer of yourself is “Do I also have the right kind of insurance?”. Specifically, for your own protection, and the protection of your family, you should seriously try to stretch your budget to include UM insurance as part of you auto insurance policy. And as with BI Insurance limits, when it comes to UM insurance “You can never have enough”. I can tell you it is a heartbreaking moment when I have to explain why there is no chance of obtaining just compensation for the injury, or even death, of a family member who was struck by a car with little to no Bi coverage. It is the most difficult part of what we unfortunate encounter on a regular basis. Purchasing UM insurance should be a priority for every car owner in this state. It’s the right kind of insurance to have.

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