Everything You Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Florida Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Did you know that one out of every 5 drivers in South Florida is not insured?  This is a statistic that causes confusion for many residents in our area because they think that all drivers on the road have insurance.  What they don’t know is that there are two kinds of insurance that are necessary for every driver in the state of Florida, no fault insurance and uninsured motorist coverage.  The no fault insurance is the one that everyone is required to take out in the event of an accident.  This amount, in fact, is the amount that your insurance company compensates you after an accident whether or not you were the driver at fault.  In Florida, there is a $10,000 limit on this kind of auto coverage.

Now, imagine that you are driving and another driver crashes into your car and leaves you with serious injuries.  The $10,000 that you get from your no fault insurance will hardly be enough to pay for your medical bills, your loss of income and any other expenses that you may incur in the course of your treatment.  This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes in to play.  A common question that most people ask at this stage is…Won’t the other driver’s insurance pay for my medical bills?  The answer is yes it should, but the problem is that most of the drivers in South Florida don’t have bodily injury liability insurance.  In cases where they do, it is usually not sufficient to deal with serious injuries and long stays away from work.  The only policy that can take care of expenses of this magnitude is uninsured or under insured motorist coverage.  It will pay for:

  1. All medical expenses to the limit of your auto policy.
  2. Any lost wages that are not covered by your no fault coverage to the limit of your policy.
  3. Future medical expenses related to the accident to the limit of your policy.
  4. Future wage losses relating to the accident to the limit of your policy.
  5. Non economic losses including pain and suffering and even the inability to enjoy life after the accident.
  6. It pays victims of hit and run drivers.

So if this kind of insurance pays for so much how come every driver in Florida doesn’t have a policy?  It is because they are either ignorant of the fact that it exists or they cannot afford it.  Every Florida auto insurance agent is supposed to offer uninsured or under insured coverage at the time they offer the no fault policy, but because it is not mandatory many people don’t take it.  Another common question is why the other driver should not pay for expenses.  Remember our statistic 1 in 5 drivers in Florida are not insured.  If you get into an accident with a driver who cannot buy insurance for themselves, imagine how hard it will be getting them to pay for your medical expenses.  Secondly, if they have insurance it may not be sufficient to take care of all your current and future medical bills and also pay you for lost earnings.  You cannot afford to have medical procedures delayed because of money.

Does uninsured or under insured motorist coverage repair my car after an accident?  The answer to this, unfortunately, is not.  This kind of insurance is designed only for bodily injury and not property damage.  You can speak to your Florida auto insurance agent about a different kind of cover that will repair your car.  Another commonly asked question is why health insurance doesn’t take care of the bills.  There are several advantages to having uninsured motorist coverage as well as health insurance.  The first is that it will pay all bills without any deductibles or co-pays.  In addition to that, you are compensated for lost work days and you are also paid for pain and misery.  The wise thing to do is to have both kinds of insurance so that you have health insurance in case you need it.

Some people cite cost as the reason why they don’t have uninsured motorist coverage.  Cost, in fact, is quite reasonable, usually less than $100 a year.  When you compare that against the benefits it would be silly to say that the reason you don’t have the best insurance for any Florida driver is because you cannot afford it.

It is important to note that the number of cars that you have affects the amount you pay in premiums for uninsured motorist coverage.  All your policies can be added together so that the compensation available to you is higher.  Many car owners in South Florida are not aware of this and they often forgo it when they could have had a higher limit.

How do I choose the best uninsured motorist coverage policy?

Now that you know what uninsured motorist coverage is and why it is a must for you to get it, let’s discuss how to find the best South Florida agent or Florida insurance company to issue your policy.

There are certain things that you should take into account:

The first thing you should know is that all insurance companies calculate your premiums based on risk.  If you drive a very expensive car, if you let young people behind the wheel, or if you don’t have secured parking all these are things that an insurance company takes into account when deciding on your premiums.  What you should do is make sure that you car is as low risk as possible.  Consulting with an experienced insurance agent, like myself, can give you advice on ways to lower your premium, i.e. installing car alarm, bundling auto with homeowner’s policy, etc.

After you have done everything to make your car low risk do not assume your agent or Florida auto insurance carrier will give you a discount.  Other than risk, there are certain other things that insurance companies look for when issuing discounts like the number of cars that you have insured with them, current mileage of autos, a clean drivers license and if applicable, whether one is a good student.

Compare several different quotes to see which one is most affordable.  Remember, cheap is not always necessarily good.  A company could be cheap because they are cutting costs in other important areas.  You should look at the quality of the service in relation to the cost.

Make sure that you buy your uninsured motorist coverage from a company that has a physical location. There are many insurance companies springing up online and all of them claim to sell all kinds of insurance.  Beware not all of them are who they claim to be.  There are some that are frauds and you will lose money.  Deal with a well-known Florida insurance agent, like myself, who has offices that you can visit in case the need arises.

Look at their history for paying out claims.  How long does it take?  Are clients happy?  One of the ways to know whether an insurance company is good or not is whether they have a legal department.  If they do it means that they have many cases in court, usually unsettled claims.  You are better off finding a company that does as promised.

Check what others are saying online.  Are there disgruntled clients?  If there are some disgruntled people you should probably continue your search for a new company.

Do you already have uninsured motorist coverage?  If yes, you should re-evaluate your policy from time to time.  Florida insurance companies often revise their premiums downwards after certain events such as buying a new car, moving into low crime areas, maturity (yes, they reward you for growing older because generally, older drivers are better drivers), getting married and buying a new home.  That said, there are some cases in which premiums can be revised to a higher figure.  These include moving from a low crime are to a high crime area, filing claims (where you are at fault), traffic violations, adding a young person to your policy and arrests due to drunk driving.

One great way to evaluate the customer service of an insurance company is through their social media accounts.  How well and how fast do they respond to questions?  Go to either Facebook or Twitter and ask a question and observe how they interact with their customers.  In addition to that, you can email them and see how long it takes for someone to get back to you.

Get all your insurance from one company so that it is easier for them to give you discounts on all your premiums.

Before you sign any insurance policy, not just uninsured motorist coverage, you must read it very carefully and understand what it says.  Most complaints that are filed against insurance companies occur because people dot read contracts before they sign them.  If you are having a hard time with the language you should get a lawyer to help you understand what you are signing.

Call the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to find out whether the company that you’re dealing with is legitimate and whether they are registered.

These tips should give you a better understanding of your risk and help guide you to making the best decision for you and your family.   Should you have any questions regarding uninsured motorist coverage or would like to get a complimentary comparison of your current auto policies, please visit our contact us page and call me today!

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About Florida Insurance Tips

A Blog offering Tips and helpful navigation to better Insurance coverage in the State of Florida

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