Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is an optional add-on to your automobile insurance policy that serves as a safety net in case the other driver has no liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) protects you in case the driver has no liability insurance.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage offered under Florida Statute § 627.727 is particularly important in Florida because we have so many drivers who do not carry any automobile liability insurance. A recent study revealed that Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the entire United States. A shocking 26.7% of all drivers in Florida operate as uninsured motorists.
How Underinsured Motorist Coverage Works
Florida requires drivers to buy personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but that coverage does not pay claims that exceed the minimum required limits of PIP. You can sue a liable party under Florida Statute § 627.737 if you suffer:
- The loss of a substantial bodily function. The damage must be permanent.
- An injury that leaves you with permanent consequences, to the best of your doctor’s knowledge and professional opinion.
- Scars or disfigurement that is permanent and significant.
- The death of a loved one who succumbs to his or her injuries.
In any of these situations, you can seek to recover your economic losses and damages for your emotional distress, pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Catastrophic injuries that meet the guidelines for filing a lawsuit generate both financial and non-financial losses. Florida’s PIP coverage does not always adequately cover these damages.
If the at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance for third-party liability to pay your losses, you might have to seek recovery from your underinsured motorist insurance. Your standard insurance will not provide the benefits that you need in this specific situation.
How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works
Uninsured motorist coverage in Florida can help you in two situations:
- The other driver does not carry liability insurance.
- You get struck by a hit and run driver. If this driver never gets caught, there is, in essence, no insurance policy to pay your losses unless you have uninsured motorist coverage. Florida law treats hit and run drivers as uninsured motorists.
Your PIP coverage can sometimes pay a small portion of your losses. But if the other driver is uninsured and you have significant injuries, your PIP coverage will be inadequate. In this situation, your only hope is to file a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage to pay the portion of your damages that exceeds the PIP coverage.
Whether the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can go after his personal assets and homeowner’s umbrella liability insurance policy if you get a judgment against him. Unfortunately, these strategies are not always productive. A person who does not buy automobile liability insurance might not have highly valuable assets or a homeowner’s liability policy.
Montero Law Center Can Help With Your Case
We are a family-focused personal injury law firm. At Montero Law Center, we work hard to get our clients all the compensation that they deserve so they can rebuild their lives. You will not have to pay upfront legal fees because our fees will come out of the settlement proceeds or court award. We do not get paid until you win.
Call us today at (954) 767-6500 for a free consultation. We can help you understand how to best move forward with your case, regardless of whether you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. There is no obligation.