According to the Insurance Research Council, 1 out of every 7 drivers is currently uninsured in the United States. Even further, a study done by this same group indicates that 23% of Florida drivers are uninsured. Florida is also one of the only states in the United States that doesn’t require bodily injury coverage, which makes having uninsured motorist coverage even more important. Bodily injury coverage is one type of coverage that pays for the innocent party’s costs associated with injuries that an at-fault party has caused to that individual through the negligent operation of their vehicle.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is highly beneficial coverage, and many people don’t fully realize the benefits of having it or understand its purpose. When you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company essentially “steps into the shoes” of the at fault party’s would-be insurance company if you are in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist. It is important to realize the distinction between underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. An uninsured motorist is an individual who isn’t covered by any auto insurance policy during the accident. An uninsured motorist can also be an individual who commits a hit and run. An underinsured motorist is an individual who is insured during the time of accident, but the insurance coverage isn’t sufficient to compensate the injured party whom the at-fault party hit during the time of accident.
For example, the at-fault party could have $10,000 in bodily injury coverage, but the innocent party could have injuries exceeding that $10,000 in coverage. Hypothetically, let’s say they sustained a neck injury that required immediate, emergency surgery with bills totaling just over $100,000. If the innocent party has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of $100,000, that coverage could be utilized, with the ideal circumstances and proper cooperation from the insurance company. On the flipside, it is unfortunate when the opposite situation occurs: an individual sustains serious injuries from an auto accident, the at-fault party is either uninsured or underinsured, and the innocent party has no uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or low limits of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In some cases, people believe that they are insured by their insurance company, but they don’t understand what type of coverage they have and how that coverage comes into play in different scenarios.
It is essential that you retain an attorney for an auto accident, because an attorney can properly identify and assess the coverage available for both yourself and the at-fault party. Additionally, there are specific procedures and notifications that you must adhere to in order to property navigate through both your own auto insurance claim and the claim of the at-fault party. Please contact my office if you have been involved in an automobile accident, and we can provide you with a free consultation today.