Ask Milly Because She Knows – Today’s Question – What is Uninsured (UM) or Under Insured (UIM) Coverage and Do I Need Them?
Here in the Sunshine state, Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) are optional coverages on your own auto insurance policy. It is coverage for you and your relatives that live with you, and people who occupy your car. UM/UIM coverage pays for injuries caused by an auto accident where the At-Fault driver has no insurance or does not carry ENOUGH insurance to redress your injuries. It can be used when you or your family members or driver of your car did not cause the accident. Very important: UM/UIM coverage does not pay for any of the damages to your car.
Why is UM/UIM so important, especially here in Florida?
UM/UIM is very important here in Florida. Due in part to the transient nature of Florida, it is a hot bed for uninsured motorists. People come and go regularly in this state, sometimes with little or no regard for others while they are driving. In 2012, 23.8% of Florida drivers had no auto insurance. That ranks us as the 5th worst state in the nation.
Under Insured Motorists (UIM)
Under Insured Motorists (UIM) coverage protects you if the other driver in a car accident is under insured. Many Floridians live paycheck to paycheck and therefore purchase the absolute minimum amount of auto insurance coverage that the law allows. Drivers often consider themselves “fully insured” with limits as low as $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident for bodily injury. That might not even cover the costs of a trip to the emergency room these days. 49% of Florida drivers have bodily injury liability limits of $25,000 per person or lower.
Even if you have medical insurance, you should consider getting both UM and UIM coverage because medical bills are only a portion of what you can claim on uninsured or under insured motorist coverage.
UM/UIM covers all of these things
*loss of future employment for life
*lost wages and disability
*long term nursing care
*wheelchairs and medical devices
*pain and suffering
*replacement services for things you are no longer able to do like yard work or house cleaning
*retrofitting your house to accommodate disabilities caused by the accident.
Most of this list is not covered or they are covered with limitations by your medical insurance.
Here is the bottom line, if you get hurt by someone who has little or no insurance and you don’t have UM or UIM coverage, your only recourse is to sue the At-Fault driver directly. But, think about it for just one second; if they can only afford the bare minimum or worse, no insurance at all, it stands to
reason that they are not sitting on any substantial assets. You can’t get blood out of a stone!
As soon as you become aware that the at-fault driver does not have insurance or sufficient insurance for the damages he or she caused to you or your family members, you should make a claim immediately. Typically, the time for such claims is limited (sometimes as little as 30 days to discover the need for such as claim) It gets dicey sometimes too. The insurance company could take its time assessing your injuries and comparing them against the paltry amount of coverage the At-Fault driver may or may not have. It may take several months to resolve this. Remember, insurance companies don’t make money when they are paying it out. They will twist and turn you to save 50 cents.
If you make a uninsured or under insured motorist claim, you can expect your insurance company will investigate your medical treatment needs and the true nature of your injuries. In some cases, this turns into something called a Bad Faith Claim. Every insurance company has a duty to handle claims in good faith. If your insurance company takes an adversarial approach to your UM or UIM claim, don’t go it alone. I know how to fight these insurance companies for your rights. Don’t let them violate your rights. Call me immediately at 833-Ask-Milly.