For a lot of people in Florida, auto insurance is a “necessary evil” one must purchase. And, if you live in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, or Pinellas County, life without a car is a tough one to say the least. So what do you do? You get the auto insurance! However, many people just get the cheapest one they can find. Unfortunately, cheap auto insurance is cheap because it covers very little. This fact, in and of itself, does not scare many drivers, because a lot of them use the rationale “I’m a great driver. I don’t speed. I don’t text and drive. I don’t drink and drive. And, I ALWAYS pay attention. If I am ever in an accident, it’s going to be someone else’s fault and the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover it.” So it begs the question, why in the world would I ever spend extra money on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? Well, the Kemp, Ruge & Green Law Group has the answer. We will explain why this coverage is vital to protect yourself from both uninsured AND underinsured drivers.
Uninsured drivers are not just in the rural areas by the citrus groves and tomato fields anymore. USA Today estimates one in seven drivers does not have auto insurance nationwide, but in Florida, USA Today and the Sun Sentinel estimate that number to be as high as one in four. Consider those numbers for a minute, and just to be conservative, let us say it is only one in ten drivers that do not carry auto insurance. Remember the last time you were stuck at a red light, how many cars did you see? At least ten, right? And that was just ONE red light. Compound that over your daily commute the number of uninsured drivers starts to look a lot more dangerous. Even worse, the estimates from USA Today and Sun Sentinel are just estimates for uninsured drivers. This means that there are even more drivers that could potentially cause serious damage to you, your family, or your automobile and not afford to pay it.
In Florida, the auto insurance requirements are much less than in other states. The only coverage required by law is Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) a.k.a. no-fault insurance, and $10,000 property damage liability coverage. Florida does not require drivers to carry Bodily Injury coverage (B.I.). Now, what does all this mean? Well, P.I.P., like it says, is personal. If you have auto insurance, you have P.I.P. and it will cover 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000. However, that still means you will have a 20% copay with every doctor visit or procedure.
Granted, if you are in an accident, the at-fault driver may have B.I. coverage. If this is so, then your injuries will be paid through the at-fault driver’s insurance company…but only to the limits of his or her B.I. coverage. Imagine you sustained a permanent injury from the car accident, do you think an extra $10,000 (the standard amount of coverage) will really help that much? Probably not. Now, imagine if the person who hits you just got the minimum requirements by law. You would only receive your P.I.P. benefits. Most likely, you would be left with the choice of foregoing vital treatment or racking up crippling medical bills. Luckily, there is an easy way to prevent this unfortunate occurrence from happening:
Contact your insurance company and GET UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE! With this coverage, even if an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures you in a car accident, your insurance company will pay for your medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, up to the limits of the coverage. This coverage is the only way to protect you and the ones you care while you are on the road. And, as always, if you’ve been in auto accident and have any questions, feel free to contact Kemp, Ruge & Green Law Group.