What is uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits? Who is entitled to compensation? These are common questions many automobile insurance owners as well as injured persons do not know the answer. Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage is an optional type of insurance coverage in the State of Florida.
Because UM benefits are optional in nature, there are typically additional premiums associated with such coverage. Because of the additional expense of Florida UM coverage, many automobile owners choose to decline such coverage. UM coverage refers to uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage.
Here are some examples that will help explain the nature and coverage Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Let’s say a driver is rear-ended by at the driver of another vehicle. The at fault driver and owner did not carry Bodily Injury insurance otherwise referred to as BI coverage OR did not have any coverage whatsoever. Assuming that the injury victim carried UM coverage or the owner of the vehicle driven by the injury victim carried UM coverage, there would be a claim for UM benefits under this fact pattern. In order to qualify for UM coverage, the injury victim would need to prove that there was no BI coverage OR no coverage at all for the driver and owner of the at fault motor vehicle. The lack of BI coverage or any coverage can be established by a letter from the other insurance company or other documentation. Uninsured Motorist coverage would be most helpful in the situation because damages related to a personal injury often times exceed the PIP coverage and Med Pay coverage for medical bills. Furthermore, PIP and Med Pay coverage do not, in any way, pay or compensate injury victims for pain and suffering damages.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
UIM coverage while UIM coverage and uninsured motorist coverage are very similar in nature there is a slight difference between these coverages. Let’s take the prior example where there was an accident in a person suffered injuries. However let’s change the facts a little bit. Let’s assume that the at fault owner and driver carrying a $10,000 Bodily Injury insurance policy. Let’s further assume that the injury victim suffered a fractured leg that required surgery that resulted in hospital bills exceeding $25,000. Under this fact scenario, the injuries or damages clearly exceed the Bodily Injury coverage of $10,000. There would be a viable claim for Underinsured (UM) benefits because the available Bodily Injury coverage it is not sufficient to compensate the injury victim fully for his or her injuries. This would be a good example of the situation in which the injury victim could claim and probably recover the Underinsured Motorist coverage.
The above fact scenarios are just two of a myriad of fact scenarios that can occur regarding Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance coverage. Because of the complexity of UM coverage and the application of the coverage, it is often helpful to retain the services of a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and legal representation.
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