Uninsured motorists, and motorists with very low bodily injury liability limits, are all over Florida's roadways. In fact, the drivers most likely to be uninsured are the most dangerous. That's because of the large number of persons driving without driver's licenses. Those people driving without driver's license are simply unable to purchase insurance coverage because obviously they need to prove that they are licensed drivers in order for the carriers to sell them this type of insurance.
When Aracely Mendoza of Miami was driving on I-95 on March 27, 2009, a male drunk driver struck her vehicle, ending her life and injuring the three other passengers in her vehicle. Unfortunately, because the police needed more evidence, the drunk driver was not arrested and cannot be located now. This case serves as an example of how important it is to have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance.
Older statistics have shown that approximately 50 percent of the drivers in Dade County, and one- third of the drivers in Broward County are uninsured motorists. Many times, negligent or reckless drivers leave the scene of an accident because they lack insurance. Whether or not the negligent driver abandoned the scene, if they are uninsured or underinsured, your policy may contribute to your compensation if you have UM/UIM coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers you when a person in a motor vehicle causes injuries and that person either has no automobile insurance coverage, or has an inadequate amount to cover you or your family for an accident. They are then referred to as an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage covers you for an amount over and above your personal injury protection benefits and medical payments, and covers you for any bodily injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, medical bills and permanent injury suffered by you. Uninsured/underinsured insurance policies also usually cover hit-and-run accidents.
We have always heard the expression, Look out for number one. Yet, with car insurance, and insuring our families and ourselves, we do not always look out for number one. Some people have $100,000 worth of insurance to cover somebody else who is injured in an accident, but only have $10,000, or maybe even zero, to cover themselves. Therefore, you should buy the maximum amount of uninsured motorist coverage that you can get.
The maximum that you can buy is an amount equal to your bodily injury liability coverage. In fact, if you have more than one vehicle in your household that is owned by you, or a family member or relative living with you, then you can stack your uninsured motorist's coverage and obtain even more coverage. We always recommend the stacking form over the non-stacking form.
Take a look at your automobile insurance policy now. If your policy has less uninsured motorist coverage than bodily injury liability limits, then you need to increase your limits at least to an amount equal to your bodily injury liability limits. In addition, if you have multiple cars in your household, you can increase the limits available for uninsured motorist coverage if you purchase the stacking form of coverage, as opposed to non-stacking. In other words, if you have three cars in your household, and your uninsured motorist insurance limits on each policy are $100,000/300,000, then you can increase your uninsured motorist coverage by stacking it. If it is stacked with all three vehicles on the same policy, the available coverage will increase to $300,000/900,000.
In addition, if you have an umbrella policy, you can also purchase uninsured motorist coverage equal to your umbrella policy. However, you have got to request it from your agent in order for it to happen.
If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the uninsured motorist coverage is available to you should you need it. Do not let your insurance agent convince you otherwise; do not protect yourself less than you are protecting the other guy. Do not listen to your insurance agent regarding what coverage to buy. Many times the insurance agent will sell you coverage or types of insurance that are most profitable for the agent or the insurance company. Your insurance agent often does not know what is the best coverage for you, or does not have your best interest at heart.