As a Miami Car Accident Lawyer, I often have to tell my clients that despite their severe injuries, the driver that destroyed their life, does not have insurance or does not have bodily injury liability insurance. The latest study from the Insurance Research Council, confirms that a whopping 23.5 percent of Florida drivers have no insurance at all. Further, I would estimate that 60 percent of drivers do not have bodily injury liability insurance.(This is the insurance that provides compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. )
Florida is the only state that does not require drivers to carry Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, THE ONLY STATE. (New Hampshire, requires that drivers be able to demonstrate that they are able to provide sufficient funds in the event of an “at-fault” accident.) Why is it that Florida is always the only State?
When I tell a client that he/she may not be able to collect any monies because the at fault driver did not have any insurance, the reaction is anywhere from mild disappointment to rage. I then go over their insurance policy with them, and often point out that if they were at fault and injured someone, that there would be no compensation for the person they injured, because they do not carry bodily injury liability coverage. That response is always the same; “The agent told me I had full coverage.” Wrong, full coverage means:
Pip/No Fault-(PIP)-for payment of your own medical bills
PD Liability-(PD)-for payment of the damage you cause to someone’s car or property
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage(BI)-for payment of injuries you cause when at fault in an accident
Uninsured Motorist Coverage-(UM)-for payment of YOUR injuries in the event the person who hit you does not have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage(BI)
Comprehensive-For damage to your car caused by theft, fire, etc
Collision-For damage to your car caused by an accident.
So what would it cost to get full coverage with reasonable liability limits? The industry-supported Insurance Information Institute figures it costs about $200 extra annually per vehicle to take your liability limit from $50,000 to $1 million per accident. (Of course those figures vary by state, driver, and vehicle type. I can safely estimate the coverage on an 18 year old male in Miami, Florida with a couple of speeding tickets and a Corvette will cost enough that you may need a second job.) Uninsured Motorist coverage is typically 50 Percent of the cost of liability coverage.
In summary, given the large percentage of drivers without adequate insurance to compensate you in the event of an accident , the best insurance is the one you can buy yourself, Uninsured Motorist Coverage(UM). The only caveat is that you can only buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage up to the limits of your Bodily Injury Liability Coverage limits(BI). Thus, if you do not buy BI coverage, you cannot buy UM coverage. If you buy $10,000.00 BI, you can buy $10,000 UM, and so on.