Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Why Do I Need It and What Does It Cover?

By: Glen Wieland

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Yesterday, I was with a client who told me that his insurance agent convinced him to buy non-stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. This client had no idea what he was buying, but the agent told him that he did not need stacking insurance and that non-stacking insurance would save him a few dollars. In our opinion, this was bad advice.

What is uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage?

Uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage protects you, the family members under your roof, and any passengers in your car from the cost of injuries and lost wages caused by another uninsured or under-insured driver who does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and injuries. We have represented clients with more than $100,000 in medical bills and nearly a year’s worth of lost wages — all from an car accident caused by a driver with either no insurance or only $10,000 in coverage and no ability to pay the remainder of our clients’ losses. If these clients were covered under stacking uninsured motorist coverage, they could have been paid for their losses.

Why do I need stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage?

Stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage allows you to stack any uninsured/under-insured motorist coverages where you are an “insured” together for any car accident. This may double or triple the available coverage to help pay for your losses from a car accident. As an example, if you own two cars, each with uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage of $50,000 and a stacking policy, you would have $100,000 of available coverage to pay for your losses. If you own three cars, each with stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage of $50,000, the coverage would be $150,00.00. If you are the passenger in a friend’s car who has uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage of $100,000 and you have stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage of $50,000, your coverage stacks on top of your friend’s coverage for a total of $150,000 in coverage.

If you don’t have stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, you would be limited to the coverage under one policy. With today’s medical costs and the potential to be injured on Central Florida’s reckless driver and tourist-filled highways, it is best to have coverage to pay your losses. If you don’t have coverage, you may still owe substantial sums of money to hospitals and doctors if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your losses.

In Florida, drivers and car owners do not have to carry bodily injury insurance to pay for your medical bills and lost wages if they cause your car accident. The odds of being involved in an accident with a driver who does not have bodily injury insurance are approximately 1 in 3. The uninsured, or those who only carry $10,000 in coverage, are also often unable to pay out-of-pocket or have the collectable assets to cover your losses. Between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., the number of drivers who don’t have the insurance to pay for your losses increases dramatically, as well as the odds that drivers are intoxicated.

We recommend that you buy stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage at an amount that would pay for at least six months of lost wages and $50,000 in medical bills. It does not cost significantly more to buy stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage and, contrary to what some insurance agents will tell you, we believe this is one of the most important coverages you can get. After all, stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage helps protect both you and your family.

Massive construction to I-4 will begin in the near future and will surely take many years to complete. In that time, we expect that the number of accidents will unfortunately increase. We have also seen a dramatic increase in distracted driving accidents with the ever-increasing use of smart phones. When you mix construction and unexpected lane shifts with distracted drivers, you end up with a clearly dangerous combination. Protect yourself and your family and make sure you have stacking uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.

If you, a loved one or a friend have any questions regarding auto insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 407-841-7699. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices when it comes to car accidents.

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