A recent study by the Insurance Research Council found that 1 in 8 US drivers have no insurance. The study also found that the number of uninsured drivers is on the rise. This means that people with insurance will pay out of pocket when an accident does happen - even if that accident was the fault of an uninsured driver! In other words, uninsured drivers (and drivers that do not have enough insurance) put insured drivers at significant risk.
But, wait -- how can uninsured drivers be allowed to operate a vehicle at all? How can it even be legal to drive a heavy vehicle without any kind of insurance? Great Question?
The good news is, in the state of Florida at least, that you cannot drive a vehicle of any kind without insurance (Virginia, New Hampshire, and Mississippi drivers are not so lucky, though, since I’m told that those states do not require insurance in order to operate a vehicle).
Even though it is illegal to drive without insurance in Florida, many drivers are still severely underinsured which will result in you paying more out of pocket if you are injured in a car accident that involves an uninsured or underinsured driver. That’s where Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) comes into play.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) can be added to your auto insurance policy in case you are hit and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. UM acts as a re-insurer of the bad driver who caused the accident, and it pays for the injuries incurred if you are hurt by an underinsured driver.
The state of Florida only requires two types of insurance coverage. The first is property damage, and that coverage does nothing for bodily injuries. The second coverage is personal injury protection ( aka PIP). PIP provides $10,000 in personal injury protection, but this protection only covers the owner of the vehicle and not someone that might be injured by that owner’s negligence. In my opinion, 60% of the people on the Florida roadways are either uninsured or under-insured. This is why it’s important to consider UM coverage if you can afford it.
For those who choose to under insure themselves or just simply cannot afford to purchase adequate auto insurance, you may be sued if you injure someone else in an accident and do not have adequate coverage. So ask yourself: Can you drive without UM? Yes. Is it a good idea? Not at all. Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured and underinsured drivers, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you are covered if you are hit by one of those drivers or if you hit someone else.