I scream about the benefits of maintaining an uninsured motorist policy. I do it so often I feel like Don Quixote trying to right the world’s impossible wrongs. In simple terms, a standard automobile insurance policy is to protect the people you hit. In other words, it is to protect strangers. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your loved ones. It is that simple.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Florida requires that drivers maintain automobile insurance in the amount of $10,000.00 in PIP coverage and $10,000.00 in property damage coverage. That is it. If you are thinking what if someone gets hurt in the accident, the answer is there is no insurance to pay for their injuries. Now imagine that you are driving down 4th Street in St. Pete and as you cross 38th Avenue, a man with the insurance coverage I just described runs the red light and t-bones your car on the driver’s side door. You suffer cuts, bruises, a broken collar bone and a concussion. You are transported to the hospital where you are held overnight for treatment and observation. What is the likely outcome?
First, it is very likely that your bills from the hospital, alone, will exceed $25,000.00. The PIP coverage on your policy will pay 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to a maximum amount of $10,000.00. The at-fault driver’s insurance will not pay for any of your medical bills. Remember he did not purchase bodily injury coverage on his policy. Likewise, it will not pay for pain and suffering or lost wages. Using my example, your PIP insurance will pay out $10,000.00, but you will be left holding the bag for the remaining money owed for your medical treatment. Even if you have good health insurance, this bill can quickly run into the thousands of dollars. Without good health insurance, it can force hardworking people into bankruptcy through no fault of their own. This is the result if you rejected the uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage on your policy.
Now, if you have UM coverage, your own insurance company will step in an pay for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering which were not paid for by your PIP coverage. Your UM coverage will pay an amount up to the predetermined amount of insurance that you purchased. That sounds great, right? The next question that everyone asks me is, will my insurance rates go up for making a UM claim?
Can My Insurance Company Raise My Rates If I Make a UM Claim?
The good news is that Florida law prohibits an insurance company from raising the rates on their insured because an uninsured motorist claim was made by the insured. It sounds great and it is a nice protection for consumers, but an insurance company can raise your rates because the accident itself caused you to lose discounts offered by the company. As a practical matter, those discounts are generally lost when the accident occurs and are not dependent upon the filing an uninsured motorist claim. In my opinion, not filing an uninsured motorist claim because of the fear of higher rates is not a justified fear.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer at The Law Offices of Bobby Jones
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707