If you are a safe and conscientious driver, it can be easy to think that you will never get into a car accident. After all, as long as you keep your wits about you and your eyes on the road, nothing bad can happen, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6.4 million car accidents occurred in the United States in 2017 alone. Coming into contact with a drunk or distracted driver on your commute to work in the morning could see you become a part of this statistic.
Since car and truck accidents like this can happen at any time and any location, you would be wise to prepare for them in advance. As part of your efforts to prepare, you may wish to consider adding uninsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy.
Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In thinking about whether or not you should buy uninsured motorist coverage, it is worth considering the risk that you face from drivers that do not have insurance. In the state of Florida, these risks can be quite significant.
A report published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicated that the Sunshine State has one of the highest car accident rates in the country. In 2017, the state averaged a whopping 1,098 crashes every day. That adds up to a total of 402,385 car accidents throughout the year.
Only nine states are more prone to getting into traffic accidents than Florida. As such, you would be wise to keep yourself protected when driving in the Sunshine State.
The state of Florida also has a higher uninsured motorist rate than any other state in the nation. According to the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Research Council, a staggering 26.7% of motorists in the state are uninsured.
Uninsured motorist coverage can help to protect you against the financial fallout of getting into an accident with one of them.
How Can Uninsured Motorist Coverage Protect Me?
If you are involved in a car crash that was caused by a driver who was not insured, your uninsured motorist coverage can protect you by providing you with money to cover your:
- Immediate medical expenses
- Ongoing care needs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Depending on the seriousness of your accident, these damages and expenses can add up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Are There Any Reasons Why I Would Not Want to Add Uninsured Motorist Coverage to My Auto Insurance Policy?
Having learned more about the benefits of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage, you may wish to learn a little more about its drawbacks before deciding if you should add it to your auto insurance policy.
Fortunately, the list of reasons why you may not want to buy uninsured motorist coverage contains only one entry: Cost. Adding this additional coverage to your policy will increase your monthly premium.
For most people, however, the additional cost for uninsured motorist coverage is relatively low. Adding this coverage to your policy will likely see your premiums go up by between 3% and 6%. Depending on your current rate, this may mean that you will need to pay an extra $5 or $10 per month.
What Happens if I Do Not Purchase Coverage and Later Get into an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
In the state of Florida, you are not legally obligated to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. You are free to drive on the Sunshine State’s many public roads and highways without this additional coverage if you so choose. However, if you should get into an accident with an uninsured driver while doing so, you may regret your decision.
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, you will be compensated for your initial medical costs, lost wages, and incidental costs up to your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit if you are hit by an uninsured driver. However, you will not receive any financial restitution for any incurred damages that would take you past that limit. For most Florida drivers, PIP coverage is limited to $10,000 in medical benefits and $5,000 in death benefits.
Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage also will not compensate you for your pain and suffering, your ongoing care needs, or your loss of future earning capacity. You will most likely need to cover these damages out of your own pocket.
If you would prefer to avoid this nightmare scenario, it may be wise to call your insurance agent and have them add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy as soon as possible.