The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage
A recent study showed that at least one out of eight drivers in Florida have no automobile insurance. In fact, Florida is second only to California in the number of uninsured drivers on it's roadways. So if you're in an accident caused by someone else, there is a good chance that person has very little or no insurance to cover your injuries.
So what can you do to protect your family? Make sure your policy includes Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Insurance companies may encourage you not to buy this coverage, because it increases their exposure to paying out claims. And we all know insurance companies love to take your money, but not so much when it comes to paying claims.
In Florida, the insurance must offer you the chance to buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) equal to the same amount of your Bodily Injury Coverage (BI). But you can make a written rejection of full UM coverage by selecting one the following three options;
- Total rejection of UM coverage
- UM coverage in an amount less than your BI coverage
- Non Stacking UM coverage. That means if you two or more cars on the policy, you can not increase the UM coverage by multiplying the coverage times the number of cars on the policy. For example, assume you have three cars on the policy and have UM coverage of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence. With stacking coverage, we multiply the cars times coverage, or in this case, 3 x $100/300 means there is $300,000 coverage per person and $900,000 per occurrence. If you have non staking coverage, you can only get the coverage on one car, or $100,000/$300,000. So if you have multiple cars, always get stacking UM coverage.
When you purchase a new policy, make sure to purchase as much UM coverage as you can afford. Also be aware that if you simply renew your existing policy, the insurance company is not going to offer you UM coverage if you rejected it on the previous policy. In that case, call your agent or insurance company and make sure to tell them you want to change your policy to add UM coverage. If you wait until you have an accident, it's too late.