Lakeland - One of the most misunderstood phrases in Florida is “full coverage”. Most of the time, when a person says they have “full coverage” what they really mean is that they have obtained the minimal amount and type of insurance required by the State of Florida, which is simply Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault PIP) and property damage coverage. Florida ’s minimum requirements for auto insurance are a far cry from “Full Coverage”.
An auto policy truly providing “Full Coverage” should contain the following 8 types of coverage:
- No Fault (PIP)
- Medical Payments
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
- Property Damage
Most insurance agents know this. However, one must keep in mind that while insurance agents want to sell as much insurance as they can, agents realize they must keep costs low or risk losing the customer. This practice, coupled with frequent requests by Florida’s drivers to simply “give me what the law requires” has resulted in Florida having one of the nation’s highest rankings for uninsured/underinsured drivers.
Unfortunately, Florida does not require that vehicle owners carry Bodily Injury Liability (BI) insurance. Therefore, if a driver without BI insurance causes serious injury to another, the at-fault driver will not have the type of insurance to compensate the injured person for the injuries sustained and resulting damages, i.e. medical bills, loss of work, pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc.
Because Florida does not require BI insurance, any Florida policy purporting to provide full coverage should include medical payments coverage (which supplements PIP), and even more importantly, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM) provides the necessary layer of protection when the at-fault driver has no bodily injury liability coverage or limited bodily injury liability coverage.
Take for example, a person seriously and permanently injured by a driver with no bodily injury liability. The injured person, in addition to having incurred medical bills, lost time from work, and other out-of-pocket expenses that exceed the available coverage under PIP and medical payments coverage, has suffered a great deal of pain, inconvenience and often disfigurement. In this situation, if the injured person does not have UM coverage, it is likely that he or she will never be compensated for his or her losses. If the injured person, however, does have UM coverage, his or her own insurance company would “step in” and act as the insurance company for the negligent uninsured driver.
Auto Accident UM Coverage
Generally speaking, insurance companies are not quick to let go of their money. Even when liability is clear, disagreements arise pertaining to the extent of the injuries, the cause of the injuries claimed, and the value of the claim. Regardless, having UM affords one the opportunity to present a claim if needed. Without UM coverage, no Florida auto policy can be deemed to have “Full Coverage”.