A message from TWW Attorney, Phillip Warren:
Most clients have a limited understanding about the insurance products they purchase until they need to make a claim. Since the majority of my legal practice is litigating insurance claims, I spend a lot of time educating clients about the insurance they have or should have obtained. Unfortunately, many clients discover after a claim is made that their insurance is not sufficient to protect them or simply does not provide protection at all. We share information like this to help you understand more about the insurance products you are paying your hard-earned money for. We want to be sure you understand how various insurance products may or may not cover you and your loved ones in case of an accident.
Motor Vehicle Insurance
First, let's discuss motor vehicle insurance. This is one of the most common types of insurance and one of the most confusing products. Florida motor vehicle insurance is filled with all types of initials like PIP, PD, BI, and UM among others. What do all these letters really mean to you if you are in accident and need to file a claim? We will unravel the meaning and implications of all these puzzling letters.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (“UM”) Coverage
We will start with the two most important letters contained in a motor vehicle insurance policy: UM. These letters stand for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Did you know that Florida law does not require that most drivers carry bodily injury (BI) liability insurance? This means that many drivers do not have insurance to protect you if they are at-fault and injure you or your passengers. Even if an at-fault driver does have bodily injury coverage, the amount of coverage is often inadequate.
UM coverage literally steps in the shoes of the at-fault driver to provide protection to you and your loved ones when there is little or no liability coverage. UM even pays when you are injured by a hit and run vehicle. Often, clients mistakenly believe that since they have “full coverage” insurance that they have UM coverage, but many people are sold “full coverage” motor vehicle insurance polices without UM coverage. The truth is that the term “full coverage” is used in car financing to refer to the fact that when a car is financed, the lenders want to make certain there is insurance to protect their collateral rather than just the minimum insurance required by law. All the lender cares about is protecting the car, not you.
Florida Law Requires You Knowingly Reject UM Coverage
The minimum insurance required by Florida law or your lender is inadequate to protect you and your loved ones. Be certain that you always purchase enough insurance to do that. I am not the only one who feels so strongly about the importance of UM coverage. In fact, the State of Florida feels so strongly about UM coverage that Florida law requires that you sign a form showing that you knowingly rejected UM coverage. Many people sign a UM rejection form provided by their agent without understanding what they are declining. Frequently this occurs because people tell their agent that they want the least expensive coverage. While it's true that UM will slightly increase your premiums, you may be surprised at how little it will cost to obtain a lot more protection. Truthfully, you cannot afford to be without this valuable coverage should you or your loved ones be involved in an accident.
If You Don't Fully Understand Your Insurance Products, Contact Us for a Free Coverage Review
We always recommend that you get out your insurance policy and verify you have stacking UM coverage as part of your motor vehicle insurance. Purchase as much stacking UM coverage as you can afford. Have your agent provide you several different quotes to compare how various amounts of coverage affect your premium. At TWW, we are always happy to review your insurance policies and discuss the type and amount of protection you have at no cost to you. If you have questions about how much coverage you have, how it may or not stack, and how much protection it will provide in case of an accident, do not hesitate to contact us. At TWW, we are always happy to review your insurance policies and discuss the type and amount of protection you have at no cost to you.