As discussed in an earlier blog post on Personal Injury Protection, or
PIP, and how PIP protects Florida drivers under the state's "No
Fault" laws as it relates to car accident injuries, there are other
types of protections that are available through your auto insurance company.
These protections can be a little confusing, so here's another article
in a series we are doing about auto insurance in Florida.
Previous posts in this series:
How PIP Insurance Protects Drivers under Florida's No-Fault Laws
As mentioned in the last article, Underinsured Motorist coverage, also
called by some auto insurance companies "Uninsured Motorist Coverage",
or "UM" for short, is an optional policy that is available in
addition to your state minimum auto insurance policy coverage. This policy
provides money to you to be used for medical bills if you are injured
in a car accident where the other driver has insufficient auto insurance,
or is without car insurance entirely.
UM is a policy option you purchase to protect yourself. If you purchase
an Uninsured Motorist policy, you are covered in the event that you are
in an accident where the other driver has no car insurance at all. In
Palm Beach County, high rates of uninsured drivers are a particularly
apparent problem. Hit-and-run rates in the county are also very high,
and many times, authorities on the subject say, the typical hit-and-run
is a fender-bender that involves an uninsured or unlicensed driver, which
causes one or more of the drivers to flee the scene of the accident out
of fear of punishment or retribution.
It's clear that having Uninsured Motorist coverage is a good investment
if you live and drive in Palm Beach County. And it's not very much
money – perhaps an extra $10 or $12 a month in premium, which is
well worth the potential policy payout you would be entitled to in addition
to your PIP payout.
But for the Underinsured Motorist Coverage, it's a little trickier
– the payout under these policies is based on a few factors:
- How much policy coverage you purchase for yourself
- How substantial the medical bills that are associated with your car accident are
- To what extent the other party involved in the car accident are "underinsured"
What does this UM coverage cover, exactly?
UM coverage in Florida will offer a number of benefits to you and your
family members in the event you need it. If you are a passenger in a vehicle
that is involved in a car crash, and you have suffered injuries, you may
be entitled to the host vehicle's UM insurance coverage, if it is
available. Likewise, if you are driving a vehicle owned by an immediate
family member whom you live with, you may also be entitled to the host
vehicle UM coverage (provided the other vehicle or vehicles involved in
the wreck were at fault).
It's important to note that UM coverage may be available to you if
you are in a car accident in addition to other coverage – not in
replacement of other coverage. But what coverage applies and how it applies
is dependent upon the nature or situation of the car accident itself –
who was driving, which party was at fault, and the specific coverage outlined
in the auto insurance policies of each of the drivers involved. That's
why it's so important to hire a
personal injury lawyer who has experience representing people who are injured in car accidents
in Palm Beach County.
There may be more compensation available for your medical bills and injuries
than you realize, but only a good, competent personal injury lawyer can
tell you if that's true or not.