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Why Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is So Important

Many Floridians are in the dark about the benefit of uninsured motorist coverage. Many believe it is just an extra expense they want to avoid when purchasing automobile insurance. But then uninsured motorist coverage, otherwise known as UM coverage, can represent one of the most important types of automobile insurance one can purchase. The reason is simple: UM coverage helps you in the event someone causes a wreck that result in injury to you — and that person has either no insurance or not enough to cover the value of your case. This is where UM coverage comes into play. The UM carrier stands in the same shoes as a liability carrier for the person who caused the wreck.

Florida law requires all drivers to carry certain levels of auto insurance coverage. The law further stipulates that when you purchase automobile liability coverage to help you in the event you cause an accident that result in liability to you for injuries caused to another, you automatically obtain UM coverage in the same amount as the limits of your bodily injury liability coverage. For example, if you want to protect yourself from an accident that you may cause, and you purchase $100,000 bodily injury liability limits, the law provides that you also obtain the same amount ($100,000) in UM coverage.

The law also provides that the insured may elect to reject UM coverage or to lower the limits. To do so, the insured has to sign a written rejection form approved by the State of Florida. The form must comply with state requirements, including making it clear and understandable the insured knowingly waives or limits important insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many people waive or limit their UM coverage just to save money. In the long run, however, it could easily cost them money.

Injury victims often seek advice from the Jacksonville insurance attorneys at Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. after a hit-and-run or other type of accident involving an uninsured or under insured motorist occurs. Consider this scenario that explains how UM coverage applies. Assume another driver traveling at 40 miles per hour rear-ends your vehicle while you sit at a stop sign. You suffer injuries from the crash, requiring hospitalization and subsequent treatment. The doctor ultimately finds that you have an injury to one of the discs in your spine, consequently requiring surgery. The person who caused the wreck has only  $50,000 in insurance coverage, not enough under these circumstances to fully compensate you for your injury — particularly considering the surgery. Because a $50,000 settlement from the defendant’s insurance company cannot fully compensate for your expenses, where else can you turn for more insurance coverage?

The answer is your own UM coverage. Assume you purchased $100,000 in bodily injury liability limits when you purchased automobile insurance. Unlike many other people, you took advantage of the $100,000 UM coverage you automatically obtain under Florida law. You can make a claim under your insurance policy for those $100,000 limits. Your insurance company probably would be in a position to pay the majority if not all of that $100,000 limit under your UM policy.

In essence, UM coverage is a very important feature of your automobile insurance coverage. You should never reject UM coverage. Even though it might cost you a little bit more in insurance premiums, it could represent a huge benefit in the long run. Unfortunately, most of us encounter a car wreck at some point in our lives. Hopefully, none of those will result in any injury, much less a serious one. But you cannot predict the likelihood of sustaining serious injuries in a car accident. Please do not hurt yourself further by failing to adequately protect yourself and your family.

If you have additional questions regarding insurance coverage or other issues pertaining to motor vehicle accidents, a Jacksonville insurance attorney from Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. can help. Please contact us online or call us at (904) 353-5800 today.