You are on your way home, it has been a beautiful day. You stop for the red light and while you are waiting, you hear metal crunch and glass break as you are violently shoved forward against the seatbelt. You have just been struck in the rear by a driver who was not paying attention. You are dazed, your head hurts, you hope everything will be okay. The police and the paramedics arrive. Your car is destroyed. You need to go to the hospital. At least you don’t have to worry about the money because insurance will take care of it, right? Sure you have medical insurance, and you have “full coverage” on your car, and everyone has to have car insurance to be on the road.
Unfortunately, at the hospital, you find that your injuries are severe. Due to the force of the crash, you have internal injuries, you are bleeding and you must undergo surgery. And another surgery for a fracture of your ankle. And two weeks later, when you are finally sent home, it takes you another two months to “recover”. Two months out of work, no income, and all those medical bills keep coming in, and the mortgage must be paid, or the rent must be paid, and you are responsible for your family, and you can’t do anything. And when you “recover” you wind up with a serious limp and constant pain.
This is not only a physical and emotional disaster. It can be a financial disaster as well. Your medical insurance may have a big deductible. And it doesn’t pay for extensive rehabilitation services. And some of the people who treated you are out of network and they have sent you thousands of dollars in billings. And you have been out of work without income for so long.
So now you call a lawyer to help you get these bills paid by the car insurance since the other guy had “full coverage” and you had “full coverage” too. And then you get more bad news. “Full coverage” in Florida doesn’t mean anything. Insurance agents use that phrase to sell policies with the lowest premiums. After all, no one wants to spend money on insurance.
So what is full coverage in Florida? Often times, it is no more than the required minimum in Florida, that is $10,000 in “no-fault” coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. And that’s what the other guy had. What does that mean? Well, no-fault coverage pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of wage loss up to a total of $10,000 for the owner or possibly passengers in the car. If you are hurt, your own insurance pays that, not the other guy’s. And the $10,000 of property damage liability goes to pay for property damage caused by the policyholder, so in the case above, the insurance company would have to pay that amount toward repair or replacement of the damaged car. But your car is worth $30,000! It doesn’t matter. This is Florida and no other insurance is required. Of course, you could try and find a lawyer who would sue the other driver, but since he doesn’t have any assets, you will never get anything.
So you drive on Florida roads facing financial disaster at every corner UNLESS…
Yes, you can protect yourself and your family. You can buy enough insurance to cover your assets so that if you cause injury or damage to someone else, there is enough insurance to pay. But you can also buy UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST insurance. Which will be there for you in case the other driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance. The choice is yours. Pay a little now to take the financial gamble out of driving on Florida’s roadways, or face disaster later on if you or a family member is seriously injured.
As a practicing lawyer for more than 40 years, I have faced this problem with clients all too often. We do not sell insurance of any kind. We have no relationship with any agency that sells insurance. We advise our clients that they should have the insurance they need to protect themselves and their family. If you have questions, feel free to reach out. We are happy to review your insurance without charge, explain what is covered in your policy and what is not, and make suggestions as to the best coverage for your situation.
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