Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In Florida, selecting the different coverage options for your motor vehicle can be confusing.  However, one of the most important, if not the most important coverage your car insurance should have is underinsured motorist coverage. It’s simple, underinsured motorist coverage (UM) is the only coverage that will make sure you are taken care of if you are injured by another in a motor vehicle accident.

In the State of Florida, there is not a minimum mandatory bodily injury coverage.  What that means is if someone else causes a motor vehicle accident causing injury to you, the person who caused the accident is not required to have insurance that could potentially compensate you for your injuries. In addition, if the value of your personal injury claim exceeds the amount of bodily injury insurance coverage available, underinsured motorist coverage can be utilized to potentially compensate you for the full value of your claim.

The effect of not having underinsured motorist coverage can potentially lead to a path of no recovery after a motor vehicle accident.  Here are two examples of real clients who experienced the ill-effects of not having underinsured motorist coverage following an accident.

Client One

Client One called our office after her husband and daughter were in a significant motor vehicle accident. Her daughter was killed on impact, and her husband was on life support.  Client One had two other young children.  Client One’s husband was not at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, the individual who caused the accident did not have bodily insurance coverage.  In addition, the day before the accident, Client One cancelled her underinsured motorist coverage on her car insurance policy.  As a result, we had to advise Client One that we were not able to do anything for her and her family.  While the personal injury claim was potentially worth millions, there was no insurance money available to obtain compensation as a result of the accident.

Client Two

Client Two was involved in a rear-end accident. Similar to Client One, Client Two was not at fault for the accident.  Fortunately, the individual who caused the accident had bodily insurance coverage in the amount of $10,000.  However, Client Two’s injuries and treatment placed her personal injury claim at a value in excess of $10,000.  Due to the value of Client Two’s claim exceeding the available $10,000, the next coverage that could potentially provide compensation for her injuries would be her own underinsured motorist coverage.  Unfortunately, Client Two did not have this type of coverage.  During the litigation of Client Two’s case, the insurance company for the at-fault driver offered to pay the available $10,000.  Client Two, who had a claim worth more than $10,000 was capped in her recovery at this amount.  Had she had underinsured motorist coverage, she would have been able to potentially obtain a full recovery for the full value of her claim.
Personal injury claims come down to insurance coverage.  Several clients claim that they have “full coverage” and base that statement on what their insurance agent told them.  However, full coverage in the State of Florida only references the minimum mandatory insurance coverage to operate a motor vehicle, which is Personal Injury Protection.  Before you operate your vehicle, make sure you are fully protected in case of an unfortunate accident; make sure your policy has underinsured motorist coverage.

To make sure you are fully protected, check out one of our prior blogs that discusses the most important insurance coverages available in the State of Florida.