Uninsured Motorist coverage in Florida, sometimes called “UM,” is a type of insurance that provides coverage when you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or in some cases, when you are involved in a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver cannot be identified.
Uninsured motorist coverage in Florida typically helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident. It can also provide coverage for damages to your vehicle or property.
There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage: uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) and uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD). UMBI covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident, while UMPD covers damages to your vehicle or property.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in all states, including Florida. However, as you read this article, you may decide that you should consider adding UM to your auto insurance policy, especially if you live in a state with a high percentage of uninsured or underinsured drivers.
What Percentage Of Drivers Are Uninsured In Florida?
According to a 2021 report by the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 20.4% of drivers in Florida are uninsured, which is one of the highest rates in the United States. This means that if you are involved in an accident in Florida, there is a relatively high chance that the other driver may not have insurance to cover the damages.
Even if a Florida driver has insurance, they may only have a tiny amount of bodily injury coverage, often just $10,000, which may not be enough to fully cover the damages in the event of a serious accident. In this case, having Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage as part of your auto insurance policy may be beneficial.
Because so many drivers in Florida are uninsured, we recommend you review your insurance coverage with your provider to make sure you are adequately protected in the event of an accident. It would be prudent to explore the option of adding UM and UIM coverage to your policy if you don't already have it. UM and UIM can be a life-saver when you need it.
Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required In Florida?
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Florida. However, it is required by law for auto insurance companies to offer UM coverage as an option to policyholders. This coverage can be rejected in writing by the policyholder, but we typically recommend drivers seriously consider adding UM coverage to their policy, especially given the high percentage of uninsured drivers on Florida roads.
How Do You Get Uninsured Motorist (Um) Benefits After An Auto Accident With An At Fault Driver In Florida?
If you have been involved in an auto accident with an at-fault driver in Florida who does not have insurance or who has insufficient insurance to cover the damages, you may be able to receive uninsured motorist coverage benefits from your own insurance company. To receive UM benefits, you should follow these steps:
Contact your insurance company directly after the accident.
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with very basic information, including the date, time, and location of the accident, and the names and contact information of any other drivers involved.
Speak with an attorney.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of denying or minimizing claims, and whatever you say could be used against you in your claim. Whether we’re talking about your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, their goal is to pay you as little money as possible. Thus, we highly recommend you speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident and before seeking UM benefits to make sure your rights are protected.
Seek medical attention after the accident.
If you have been injured in the accident, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not feel any pain or discomfort, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional to rule out any hidden injuries. Adrenaline masks pain, and accidents tend to trigger people’s fight or flight response.
Gather evidence at the scene of the accident.
Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene, including photographs, videos, witness statements, and police reports. This evidence may be helpful in supporting your UM claim.
File a UM claim with the help of an attorney.
You and your attorney will file a UM claim with your insurance company, providing all the necessary documentation, including medical bills, repair estimates, and any other evidence you have gathered.
Work through the claims process.
You and your attorney will work through the claims process with the insurance company and provide any additional information they may need to process your claim.
If you communicate with the insurance company without an attorney, be sure to keep detailed records of all communications with your insurance company, including the dates and times of phone calls and the names of the representatives you speak with.
The process for getting UM benefits may vary depending on your insurance policy and the specific circumstances of the accident. However, the above steps will usually be involved when a person seeks UM benefits from their insurance company.
What If Your Insurance Company Won't Pay Uninsured Motorist Benefits After An Accident With An At Fault Driver In Florida?
If your insurance company won't pay uninsured motorist coverage benefits after an accident with an at-fault driver in Florida, you may consider taking the following steps:
Review Your Policy
Check your insurance policy to make sure that you have UM coverage and that the amount you are claiming falls within the limits of your policy.
Keep detailed records of all communication with your insurance company, including the dates and times of phone calls and the names of the representatives you speak with. Keep copies of all documents related to your claim, including any medical bills, police reports, and repair estimates.
Consider Getting A Lawyer
If you are having trouble getting your insurance company to pay your claim, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in auto insurance claims and car accidents. Your attorney can help you navigate the claims process and advise you on the best course of action. Additionally, your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement without having to file a lawsuit go through litigation.
Sue Your Insurance Company
If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, you may consider filing a lawsuit. You will need to bring a suit in Florida civil court against your insurance company and demonstrate that they breached their contractual obligations to you by failing to pay your UM claim. This may require the assistance of an experienced Florida car accident attorney who specializes in auto accident insurance claims.
Can An At Fault Driver Get Uninsured Motorist Benefits In Florida?
An at-fault driver cannot get money from uninsured motorist coverage after an auto accident in Florida. The purpose of uninsured motorist coverage in Florida is to provide compensation to the insured driver and their passengers if they are injured in an accident caused by another driver who was uninsured or underinsured driver. Thus, if you are at fault for a crash, you may access your personal injury protection coverage or some other coverage but not UM coverage.
How Do You Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage In Florida?
If you're interested in purchasing uninsured motorist coverage in Florida, you can typically do so through your auto insurance provider. Here are the steps you can take to purchase UM coverage:
- Contact your insurance provider: Reach out to your insurance provider or agent to ask about adding UM coverage to your policy.
- Review your policy: Review your current policy to see if you already have UM coverage. If you do, make sure the coverage limits are adequate for your needs.
- Determine your coverage needs: Determine how much UM coverage you need based on your budget and risk factors such as the number of uninsured or underinsured drivers in your area.
- Get quotes: Request quotes from your insurance provider or other insurance companies to compare rates and coverage options.
- Purchase the policy: Once you've selected the UM coverage you want, purchase the policy and make sure to keep a copy of your insurance policy and all related documentation in a safe place.
Although uninsured motorist coverage is optional in Florida, you should strongly consider adding UM to your auto insurance policy because Florida has a huge number of uninsured drivers on the roads. The reality is that it only takes one bad accident to turn a person’s life upside down. UM coverage can help protect you and your family.
Are You Having Trouble Getting Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Benefits in Florida?
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida as a result of a careless or negligent driver, you should speak with an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact us online or you can call our Orlando, Florida law office at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation.If you need a South Carolina car accident lawyer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.