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What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

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Posted on January 2, 2024

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is a type of car insurance that covers costs if you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

UM coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver either doesn’t have any insurance, doesn’t have enough insurance, or flees the scene and can’t be identified.

It protects you by essentially acting as though the other driver had liability coverage. Without it, you’d have to pay these accident-related costs out of pocket if hit by an uninsured driver.

Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for:

  • Your medical bills and any injuries to others in the car resulting from the accident
  • Damage to your vehicle caused by the uninsured driver
  • Lost wages from missed work due to the injuries

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in Florida?

UM coverage is optional in most states, but required in some. Even if not required, experts recommend carrying it since it protects you if an uninsured motor driver hits you. There are two main types – bodily injury UM and property damage UM. Policies have limits on the payout amounts, so it’s important to choose adequate coverage limits when getting a policy.

Yes, uninsured motorist coverage is required in the state of Florida. All motor vehicle insurance policies issued in the state must include both bodily injury and property damage uninsured motorist coverage

  • Florida law mandates that all drivers in the state carry both bodily injury and property damage uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Bodily injury UM coverage pays for injuries to you and your passengers if an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident. Florida requires minimum bodily injury UM limits of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident.
  • Property damage UM coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by an uninsured driver. Florida requires a minimum of $10,000 in property damage UM coverage.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage must be offered as an option with every Florida auto insurance policy, and you would have to reject it/decline it in writing if you did not want to carry it. But again, it is required by law.

Florida law does state that all motor vehicle insurance policies issued in the state must include both bodily injury and property damage uninsured motorist coverage. It protects Florida drivers if an at-fault uninsured driver causes injury or vehicle damage.

How Many Drivers in Florida are Uninsured?

There are 1,083,766 uninsured or underinsured drivers in Florida, 6.72% of registered drivers in the state.

Florida’s high rate of uninsured drivers makes carrying uninsured motorist (UM) coverage especially important in the state.

Florida unfortunately has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation – almost 26% of Florida drivers lack car insurance based on recent estimates. This is significantly higher than the national average uninsured rate of around 15%.

With over a quarter of drivers uninsured, the odds of getting hit by one are much higher in Florida compared to other states. Without UM coverage, you would be fully responsible for covering all medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs and other costs out of your own pocket if an uninsured driver caused an accident. This could easily total thousands of dollars even for a relatively minor accident.

Because Florida auto insurance includes mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, your medical expenses may be partly covered if you lack UM coverage. However, PIP has relatively low coverage limits. UM fills the gaps left by uninsured drivers and by capped PIP payouts.

So, given the high probability of being hit by an uninsured driver, carrying robust uninsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverage is crucial in Florida to protect your finances. It’s an important supplementary safeguard given the realities of the state’s insurance situation.