What Drivers Really Need to Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage (Don't Sign Up Without This Information!)
According to DMV.org, the go-to source for DMV regulations and amendments to the law by state, the Insurance Research Council–or IRC–has estimated that one out of seven drivers doesn't carry car insurance. This statistic is staggering but not surprising in states like Florida, where most drivers don't carry enough or any motor vehicle insurance at all. The assumption that it's a waste of money and that a driver will never need it will hurt them in the long run. Even a fender-bender that lacks the insurance coverage for necessary repairs can be costlier than a standard monthly insurance premium. And, for those drivers who are as safe on the road as they claim to be, it'll be in their back pocket for a rainy day (literally! Rainy seasons across the country increase the number of road accidents significantly regardless of safety measures taken while driving in a downpour).
In order to ensure that already-safe motorists remain that way–most states are now requiring insurance companies to write uninsured motorist coverage into all of their policies, removing the option for drivers not to carry it. This means prices increase, but the process of securing damages for motor vehicle repairs and medical expenses in the event of an accident is that much more streamlined. As an add-on, drivers are also offered an add-on called uninsured motorist property damage that covers any damage to the vehicle or other property that may have been destroyed or severely damaged by an uninsured driver.
When "just-in-case" comes in handy
To gain a better understanding of the concept of “uninsured motorist coverage”, let’s look at in what situations one would use it as explained in-depth in Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Why It’s Important and Why You Need It:
- The driver at-fault doesn’t have enough-or any-insurance coverage
- Eliminates the necessity that you pay for an accident in which you were not at-fault
- In states with higher rates of uninsured drivers, coverage can often cost more
These situations may not arise often (or at all) over the course of many years, but imagine it did, and there was no insurance policy in place to protect from a totaled vehicle, a driver becomes injured and must be out of work for an extended period time recovering, or any loved ones come to harm due to the reckless driving of another motorist. Drivers want to ensure their safety and that of others in every possible way, even if it's a "just in case" scenario. Most uninsured motorist policies can easily fit into even the tightest budget, because car insurance companies want drivers to stay safe (and go with their company!).
It's all about options
Nearly every form of insurance has multiple policies to fit lifestyle and budget. Uninsured motorist coverage policies are no different. Here is a better idea of what you get when it comes to your coverage. It's an individual choice based on what the driver thinks they may need and the state they live in, the accident rate, how much they commute, etc.:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (also known as “UMBI”): this type of insurance covers any injury-related expenses–from lost wages to medical expenses–it even covers the ambulance if a driver requires transport to a hospital. This level of insurance can protect a driver should the accident turn out to be a hit and run, and the other driver is not able to be located, as is often the case.
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (also known as “UMPD”): this type of insurance covers anything that happens to a vehicle in the event of an accident that causes severe damage or the vehicle is totaled. This type of insurance, however, does not cover any damage, to vehicle or property, nor does it cover medical expenses for injuries sustained in a hit and run accident.
Have you seen those Florida drivers?
Due to the soaring amount of motor vehicle related accidents in Florida (Miami, specifically, has an extremely high rate of uninsured drivers and accidents–a combination that's better left in the dust), it's inevitable at that some point uninsured motorist insurance will become a requirement. It's up to lawmakers to ensure the safety of those taking to the highways in Florida and as of yet they have not made it a priority to enforce uninsured motorist coverage as a driving requirement. Just because Florida's laws are currently lax, it doesn’t mean drivers should use that as a "money saving" excuse not to carry it.
It’s important that drivers take their safety and the safety of others on the road seriously. We all must safeguard against any possible driving accident that can occur due to someone else’s less-than-pristine driving record. Whether a driver is rear ended because another motorist was texting, or a brand new car is cut off in traffic, causing a fender bender–driving can be made that much safer by securing the right insurance policy.