As an injury lawyer I receive thousands of calls every year from people involved in motor vehicle accidents. When I ask them about their own automobile insurance I usually get the same two responses: 1. Why are you asking me about my insurance, I did not cause the accident? and, 2. Don’t worry, I have full coverage.
In Florida, we are what is known as a no-fault jurisdiction. The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law found in Florida Statute § 627.730 requires a Florida motorist to carry basic minimal insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This outdated and almost useless coverage pays up to $10,000 of your own medical bills if you are in a motor vehicle accident and injured. As anyone who has been to an emergency room in Florida knows, $10,000 hardly pays for anything. If you are in a serious accident and need surgery or emergency intervention, your bill will almost certainly be more than $10,000.
Personal injury protection benefits are “first party” coverage which pays bills regardless of who caused the accident. This means that even if the accident was the fault of another person, your own insurance company pays the first $10,000 in medical bills (and lost wages, if applicable). That is why I ask everyone about their own insurance when they call regarding representation.
The second part about having “full coverage” is even more troubling. The vast majority of people driving in Florida have basic state law required minimum insurance. This means they carry no bodily injury insurance. If you have no uninsured motorist coverage and are injured in a motor-vehicle accident by a similarly uninsured person, you are not covered. Uninsured motorist coverage is the most important kind of insurance a person can carry in Florida since the majority of drivers in Florida have insufficient or no insurance.
Please check your own insurance coverage. If it says uninsured motorist coverage is rejected on the policy that means you have no uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if the other person has no bodily insurance coverage or insufficient coverage limits.
Insurance companies must comply with Florida Statute § 627.727 when selling a policy of automobile insurance. The law requires an insurance company to offer uninsured motorist coverage to every Florida motorist that has bodily injury insurance on their policy. In fact, the law is so specific that they actually require certain language in the uninsured motorist rejection form including the size and type of printing on the form. An uninsured/underinsured motorist rejection form must contain the following language in 12-point bold type: “You are electing not to purchase certain valuable coverage which protects you and your family, or you are purchasing uninsured motorist limits less than your bodily injury liability limits when you sign this form. Please read carefully.”
Most people who reject uninsured motorist coverage do not know what they are giving up. Most people who select limits of uninsured motorist coverage that are less than their bodily injury insurance limits do not know what they are giving up.
Most people in Florida do not have adequate motor vehicle insurance! Do not reject uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy! Do not select the limits of uninsured motorist coverage that are lower than your bodily injury limits!
If you have any questions regarding your insurance coverages for your car, please call Jeff Davis Law for a free insurance review and consultation.