WHY UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE IS SO IMPORTANT

The Undervalued Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage

car-crash-in-miami-lawyer-300x242Though PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and PD (Property Damage) insurance are mandatory in Florida, uninsured (UM) and under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage tend to fly under the radar when it comes to the value they add when an accident occurs; especially when accident victims suffer severe personal injuries, damages, lost wages or wrongful death. According to the Perazzo Law Firm’s professional and experienced staff of car accident attorneys, uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is perhaps the most important insurance coverage a vehicle owner can carry. Why? Because the number of uninsured or under-insured motorists on Florida roadways and city avenues and streets is overwhelming. In fact, Florida ranks 5th nationwide when it comes to uninsured drivers. Another reason why UM is so highly recommended by the Perazzo Law Firm, is that UM is relatively cheap compared to the medical expenses that personal injuries may entail following an accident. Though PIP will cover your personal injuries for as much as $10,000, not all of it will go to cover your medical expenses (see PIP), which will undoubtedly surpass said amount for even a minor injury such as a broken nose. Furthermore, PIP fails to contemplate the victim’s suffering, lost wages, or damages to the accident victim’s vehicle.  Thus, the accident victim will need to pay out-of-pocket to cover the costs brought on for another motorist’s negligence. To safeguard your finances in the event of an accident involving an under-insured or uninsured motorist, in Miami, the Perazzo Law Firm, highly recommends contacting your insurance provider and ask about UM. In most cases, insurance companies do not offer UM because it is relatively cheap and they will have to pay-out in the event of injuries and losses that the policy holder has to face. Furthermore, it’s no secret that insurance companies are in the business of making money not spending it; hence, their reluctance to raise the policy holder’s awareness to the overall importance of carrying UM. Though UM offers great value in the event of an accident with a motorists that only carries PIP and PD, it is of enormous value when the driver at fault has no insurance. Motorists that have no insurance usually have limited assets, thus, they would not be able to cover any of the accident victim or victims’ losses. It is important to point out that purchasing UM is only possible when the vehicle owner carries Bodily Injury Coverage (BI), which covers the policy holder’s assets if found at fault for an accident that leads to personal injury, losses, or wrongful death. Also, there are two types of UM available: Stacked and Unstacked.

UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE BASICS & EXAMPLES

UM BASICS

  • The best coverage a motor vehicle owner can carry for the price as it can save he/she from financial doom in the event of serious bodily injury, lost wages or wrongful death in the event of an accident involving an uninsured or under-insured motorist.
  • The motor vehicle owner must carry Bodily Injury Protection insurance in order to purchase UM or UIM (Under-Insured Motorist) coverage.
  • UM covers the policy holder and all those listed on the policy in the event that the motorists at fault for the accident doesn’t have enough insurance coverage, is broke or bankrupt and cannot pay for the accident victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and everything attributable to the accident in which the UM coverage holder was not at fault.
  • UM covers the policy holder and those listed on the policy in the event the motorist responsible for the accident flees the accident scene; for example in a hit & run accident.
  • UM follows those individuals listed on the policy no matter whose car they are driving or if they are passengers in an accident.
  • UM or UIM will not cover the policy holder or those listed on the policy if they are found at fault for the accident. BI will cover that.
  • The policy holder of BI can purchase STACKED or UNSTACKED UM coverage for the amount of BI coverage purchased.

STACKED UM  

When an insurance policy holder requests UM from their insurance provider, they can opt for Stacked or Unstacked. Stacked UM coverage can be added on each of the vehicles the policy holder owns but will cover each vehicle individually and will cover the vehicle being operated at the time of an accident. It also covers the vehicle owner and those stipulated on the policy. Stacked UM elevates the coverage limit in the event of an accident and is recommended for those that own several private vehicles or a fleet of commercial vehicles. Furthermore, stacked UM covers the policy holder in the event of an accident in another person’s vehicle, either as a driver or passenger. Stacked UM can also be combined to elevate the amount payable for injuries, damages, and/or losses sustained in an accident.

UNSTACKED UM 

Unstacked UM coverage is more often purchased when a policy holder wishes to add UM to one vehicle rather than two or more. Unstacked maxes-out at the limit you set and purchase as stipulated on the policy. Unstacked UM insurance is also less expensive than stacked UM coverage as it does not apply to vehicles not on the policy.

WHEN WILL STACKED UM COVER THE POLICY HOLDER AND THOSE LISTED ON THE POLICY

  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured in their vehicle that is insured outside of Florida on a different policy. Unstacked will not pay the policy holder or those listed on the policy.
  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured a classic vehicle that is insured on a different policy. Unstacked will not cover the policy holder or those stipulated on the policy.
  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured in a vehicle the policy holder owns but which does not carry insurance. Unstacked UM will not cover the policy holder or those listed on the policy.
  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured in another motorist’s vehicle as a  passenger or driver if not at fault. Unstacked UM also covers the policy holder and/or those stipulated on the policy.
  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured while riding on a motorcycle that is listed on the policy. Unstacked UM will also cover those on the policy.
  • When the policy holder or those listed on the policy is injured on a uninsured motorcycle he/she owns. Unstacked UM will not cover the policy holder or those stipulated on the policy.

UM EXAMPLES

  1. John has three cars. He has unstacked motorist on his Corvette, and no insurance on his Corolla, and PIP on SUV. He’s driving his SUV and gets into an accident in which he is found at fault. Will UM cover him? No, because he was at fault and UM doesn’t not cover motorists when at fault for accidents. His BI may cover the injuries for the other injured motorist and/or passengers. But since he only had basic insurance (PIP), there is no BI. John’s insurance provider will only cover him for $10,000 of PIP and $10,000 of Property Damage (PB) for the damage to the other motorist’s vehicle.
  2.  John is driving car his Corvette, which has UM coverage, and he gets into an accident for which he is found not at fault. In this case, he will have $10,000 of UM coverage because he was not at fault. If he had been at fault, then his BI, which is necessary for carrying UM coverage, will cover the other motorist’s injuries in the amount of $10,000 along with PD for $10,000 to cover the other vehicle’s damages. John’s PIP coverage would cover his medical costs and lost wages.
  3. John’s wife has two cars with $100,000 of stacked UM coverage on each car. One day, John gets into his broke friend Paul’s car and gets into an accident for which Paul is at fault. Unfortunately, Paul has no insurance coverage and John suffers bodily injury. Since John cannot sue Paul because he has no assets or money, John will be covered for as much as $200,000 because John is listed on his wife’s UM coverage policy.

PLAWTo find out more about the inner workings of Uninsured or Under-Insured motor vehicle insurance and the benefits of carrying Stacked or Unstacked UM coverage, contact the Perazzo Law Firm ONLINE or CALL (786) LAWS-411 for a FREE initial consultation. In Miami, the Perazzo Law Firm strives to provide its motor vehicle accident and insurance claims clients with the best possible representation when presenting an insurance claim for compensation according to the types of insurance policies available to Florida motorists.

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