People's Law Guide
JEFFREY A. ADELMAN
In a state with a notorious reputation for bad drivers with little or no insurance, it is amazing how little thought most people put into protecting themselves when they get behind the wheel. The most important coverage a person can have on their automobile insurance policy to protect themselves and their loved ones is under-insured/uninsured motorist coverage. In Florida, all that is essentially required for an automobile insurance policy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of ten thousand dollars. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is no-fault insurance and pays up to ten thousand dollars for medical expenses and/or lost wages. If a person is seriously injured and requires significant medical care or misses substantial time from work, the most a person can receive in benefits is ten thousand dollars and this is only if the person has no deductible. Bodily injury coverage, which is not a requirement in Florida, does nothing to protect the person who owns the policy if he or she is injured. For example, a person can have a policy for one hundred thousand dollars of bodily injury coverage, and if the person does not have any underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, and the negligent driver who caused the accident has little or no bodily injury coverage themselves, the one hundred thousand dollar policy holder receives no benefit from the insurance policy. Furthermore, trying to collect from an individual personally is more often than not an exercise in futility. If a person does not have insurance, or has a basic minimum policy, they likely have either little or no assets to collect from, or have their assets protected under the favorable Homestead Laws or the Deadbeat Debtors Laws of Florida. The only answer to protecting yourself and your family from these potentially serious problems of inadequate compensation in the event of an automobile accident is to elect to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. It is a requirement for drivers in New York to maintain underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of twenty five thousand dollars of coverage per person, fifty thousand dollars maximum per accident. Unfortunately, the Florida legislature has not followed New York’s example. It is painful enough for a person to be physically injured in a car accident that is not their fault. To have to endure the emotional and financial pains of not having money available as compensation when a person’s life has been turned upside down due to a severe car accident is doubly painful. The state of Florida may not require its drivers to take responsibility for their actions, but this does not mean that accountable drivers should leave themselves as sitting ducks. Whether you have Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, or any other automobile insurance provider, call your carrier and match your bodily injury coverage with the same amount of coverage in underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. The insurance companies do not encourage individuals to buy this coverage, due to the fact that the insurance companies will have to pay out more benefits if insureds take advantage of this coverage and are involved in an motor vehicle accident. Leased vehicles require a driver to maintain one hundred thousand dollars worth of coverage. Obviously, the more coverage you can afford, the more protected you are. Whatever your coverage might be, it is critical in Florida’s driving climate for driver’s to take out underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage to protect themselves and their families. JEFFREY A. ADELMAN is a partner in the law firm of Adelman & Adelman, P.A. with offices in Coral Springs who practices in the fields of Personal Injury, Insurance disputes and General Civil Litigation. His number is 954-341-2777 or toll free at 877-TRIALS-2 (877-874-2572) and his email address is Jeff@AdelmanLawyers.com . This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a personal legal consultation.