More than 20% of Florida drivers don’t have car insurance, a new study reports. This makes Florida one of the most important states in all of America to have uninsured motorist coverage. With more than 1 in 5 drivers on the roads without car insurance, Florida is the 6th worst state in the nation for the most uninsured drivers.
Nationally, New Jersey has the lowest rate of uninsured drivers – only about 3% of drivers are uninsured – and Mississippi has the highest rate of uninsured drivers with 29% of drivers uninsured. The national average of uninsured drivers is about 13%.
If you have car insurance, what do Florida’s uninsured drivers have to do with you? Quite a lot actually.
“Uninsured drivers increase the cost of insurance for those who comply with their state’s insurance requirements,” said David Corum, vice president of the Insurance Research Council. “Keeping auto insurance affordable is more difficult when a significant number of drivers refuse to carry their fair share of the costs.”
The annual rate of insurance in Florida averages to about $1,900 — which is more than 2x higher than the national average of annual car insurance rates.
One of the most important benefits to have on your car insurance policy in Florida is Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM coverage). UM will pay you for injuries caused by a car accident when the at-fault driver either has no insurance or they don’t have enough insurance. UM on your car insurance policy will also extend to your family members or any driver of your car, as long as the driver of your car wasn’t at fault for the accident.
In Florida, you’re required to have proof of Personal injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability car insurance to register a vehicle. Drivers are required to have a minimum of $10,000 of PIP and a minimum of $10,000 of damage liability coverage. If you don’t maintain driver’s insurance, your license can be suspended and you can get hefty fines.
You are not legally required to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy, but as a personal injury law firm in South Florida, we cannot overstate how vital UM coverage is. It is one of the most overlooked coverages in an auto policy and most people don’t understand what it is. Don’t worry – we’re going to clear things up for you.
When it comes to adding UM protection to your auto insurance policy, you have a few options. Not all coverage is equal, however.
When choosing UM, you can choose un-stacked or stacked UM limits ranging from coverage starting at $10,000 / $20,000 and ranging up to $500,000 / $500,000. Let’s break this down.
If you were to add UM coverage of $25,000/$50,000 to your policy, the first number listed indicates the maximum amount any one person can collect from a UM claim which would mean any one person could collect up to $25,000. The second number refers to the maximum amount available to all people injured in the accident. With this coverage limit, the total amount available would be $50,000 regardless of how many people were hurt in the accident.
Think about how much coverage you might need. You may want to consider if you have a partner, or children, your salary, and what the cost would be to your family if you were out of work for any time due to a car accident.
Unstacked UM coverage is cheaper than stacked UM coverage, but it comes with fewer benefits. Unstacked UM will cover you when you’re occupying any vehicle on your auto insurance policy.
Stacked UM coverage can provide higher policy limits and offers more comprehensive benefits. Stacked UM coverage stretches farther to cover you in more scenarios, including when you’re in vehicles not on your insurance policy. So if you borrow your friend’s car or drive a car for work, your stacked UM coverage can cover you in those vehicles. Stacked UM also has a multiplication factor when it comes to your benefits.
Imagine you add UM coverage of $25,000/$50,000 to your car insurance policy. If your policy is unstacked, your policy limits are $25,000/$50,000 at maximum. If your policy is stacked, however, your limits are much higher. When you purchase stacked UM coverage, your policy limits are multiplied by the number of cars insured on your auto policy. So, if you have 2 cars with $25,000/$50,000 of UM coverage, your policy limits are doubled to $50,000 per person and up to $100,000 per accident.
Because there are more benefits, stacked UM insurance is a bit more expensive. Because of the exponential nature of the benefits, however, we recommend that you get stacked UM coverage if you can afford it.
When selecting or renewing your auto insurance policy, you can request a quote for both stacked and unstacked UM to see the difference it has on your policy. Sometimes, it might be the difference of $50 over a 6-month policy. It’s always good to get as much information as you can and then make a decision. We also recommend getting quotes for varying UM coverage limits. Sometimes you might be surprised to find you can double your policy limits for just a few extra dollars a month.
The most important thing is that you get some form of UM coverage. You can decide on the limits you need and whether you need stacked or unstacked UM, but the most important takeaway is to add at least some form of UM to your policy as soon as possible.
You can add UM coverage to your car insurance policy at any point in time. You can call your insurance company, or sometimes you can even adjust your policy yourself in an online portal. If you’ve rejected UM coverage in the past, your insurance company will likely have you sign something confirming the UM coverage you’re adding to the policy.
You can always wait to add UM until you renew your policy, but we recommend doing it sooner. Unfortunately, in South Florida especially, you never know when you could get rear-ended or involved in a car accident. The sooner you have UM on your policy, the safer you’ll be on the roads.
UM coverage is something you can add to your car insurance policy to provide you with protection in case you are injured in a car accident with an at-fault driver who either does not have car insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance.
The most important thing is that you get some form of UM coverage. You can decide on the limits you need and whether you need stacked or unstacked UM, but the most important takeaway is to add at least some form of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your policy as soon as possible.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Coral Springs office directly at 954-755-7803 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve Florida residents including all of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and all points in between.