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Articles Tagged with uninsured motorist coverage

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Unlike 48 of the other 50 states, Florida does not require its drivers to carry insurance that will pay for bodily injury caused by a negligent or reckless driver.

Fort Myers Auto Accident AttorneyAccording to a recent study done by the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is second only to California in the number of uninsured motorists on the highways. Currently, Florida has 3.2 million drivers on the highways driving without any type of insurance which would pay for the injuries or death of the people they may hurt or even kill. Florida and New Hampshire are the only two states in the entire country that do not currently require even a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage. On top of the 3.2 million that are totally uninsured Florida has another major problem. Of those drivers in Florida counted as “insured” many have chosen to only buy PIP insurance that provides minimum payments to themselves and nothing to others that they may harm.

Under current Florida law, a vehicle owner can legally purchase an insurance policy that qualifies him or her as an “insured” that only provides Personal Injury Protection for themselves. Taken together, we have the 3.2 million who have absolutely no insurance and countless others who have simply bought PIP coverage with no liability insurance included. As a result, there is a strong likelihood that if a driver is involved in an accident in Florida the person who caused the accident is carrying no insurance to pay for the victim’s injuries.

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According to a recent study performed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, 73% of Americans talk on the telephone while driving. The Insurance Industry for Traffic Safety found that almost 6000 deaths were caused by distracted drivers in 2008. The numbers for teens are particularly striking. 21% of fatal car crashes involved cell phone usage and at least 50% of Florida teens admit to texting while driving.

Fort Myers Auto Accident LawyersIn Florida these numbers have particular significance because of our existing insurance laws and the number of uninsured drivers on our highways. Unlike many states, Florida does not require its drivers to have liability insurance conditioned to pay someone else harmed by a negligent or reckless driver. The only required insurance is PIP insurance which provides just $10,000 worth of no-fault medical or lost wage coverage. Very few hospital stays cost less than $10,000 so rarely is there any money for lost wages. Surprisingly, there is no requirement that Florida drivers carry insurance to pay the people they injure. Even more troubling is the fact that Florida, while having only minimal insurance requirements still has the 5th highest rate of uninsured drivers in the entire country. According to a recent study by the Insurance Research Council, a full 23% of Florida drivers had no insurance of any nature. Regrettably, those who do have liability insurance often have limits of only $10,000. All of which increases the likelihood that if you are seriously injured on the highway you may well have no one to look to reimburse you for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. So, how can you protect yourself?

First and foremost, make sure to buy liability insurance that also includes uninsured motorist coverage. Unless you reject it in writing, your insurance company is required to sell you uninsured motorist coverage in limits equal to your liability coverage. For example, if you have $300,000 worth of liability coverage, unless you have rejected it you will also have $300,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage will insure you not only against people who hurt you who have no insurance but also drivers who have some insurance but who don’t have enough insurance to compensate you for your losses.

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