Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage is one of the most important, but most misunderstood insurance coverage offered by automobile insurance companies. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you, the insured, in the event you are struck by a motor vehicle which fails to carry bodily injury liability insurance coverage or fails to carry an adequate amount of coverage to pay for the damages you sustained.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured motorist (UIM) is an optional insurance coverage which insurance companies are required to offer for sale as a matter of law. In essence, your UM or UIM coverage, “steps into the shoes,” of the uninsured or underinsured at-fault party. If you elect to purchase bodily liability insurance coverage to protect you in the event you, unfortunately, injure another person due to a car accident, insurance companies are required to offer you UM and UIM coverage in an amount equal to your bodily injury coverage.
Some insurance companies attempt to convince you to “reject” UM coverage or accept a lower amount. This is accomplished when you sign an UM or UIM rejection form. The form is required to state on the top of the form, in 12 point bold type, that:
“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.”
If you sign a form with this language, even if you do not read it, you have either rejected UM coverage or selected an amount which is less than your bodily injury coverage. Your decision to reject UM coverage or purchase lower limits can be a costly one. In Florida, drivers are not required to purchase bodily injury liability insurance coverage. All motor vehicle owners are required to purchase is personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage. Unfortunately, in the more densely populated areas where automobile accidents occur, many drivers only carry the required state minimum. As such, you are exposed to being damaged with no ability to obtain compensation for your loss.
If you have any questions about uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage, please submit an inquiry to me and I will be more than happy to speak to you free of charge.