Florida is only one of the two states in the country where having bodily injury coverage (BI) in your car insurance policy is not mandatory (just to give you an idea, New York has a mandatory minimum BI coverage in the amount of $50,000 per person, and New Jersey $15,000). This, combined with Florida constitutional provision that makes a person’s primary residence pretty much untouchable to creditors, means that some of the drivers on the road would have no money to pay for the injuries they caused to others due to their own negligence, and, based on thousands of cases we have handled, it is safe to say that about 25% of drivers in Florida fall into this no-BI category.
What should you do to protect yourself and your loved ones in case you become a victim of such an uninsured driver? There’s one answer: make sure that your automobile insurance policy has a so-called Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM).
Under Florida law, automobile insurance providers operating in our state must offer this coverage to all automobile insurance policy holders, see Florida Statutes § 627.727, yet the policy holders may reject this coverage in writing. Because your insurance provider is not eager to be on the hook to pay for your injuries if you were injured by an uninsured driver, insurance agents often advise their customers to reject UM/UIM coverage to save some money. This is a very bad advice!
I’ve had clients who were severely injured due to no fault of their own, yet there was no money to compensate them for their injuries. The at fault driver had neither BI coverage nor financial means, and the victim rejected UM/UIM coverage! Would you pay a few extra bucks in premium and be protected in case an uninsured driver causes an accident injuring you, or would you rather take a chance? The answer is obvious: make sure your automobile insurance policy has UM/UIM coverage.