Nationwide, roughly one in seven (13.8%) drivers are not covered by liability insurance and are therefore uninsured. Florida is tied in fourth place with Tennessee and Oklahoma at 24% with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers.
Part of Florida’s numbers are attributable to its motor vehicle insurance laws. Liability insurance is not required to operate a vehicle lawfully on Florida’s streets and highways. The coverage is optional and a premium will be charged to purchase it.
The only coverages that are required to obtain a vehicle registration and, thus, operate a vehicle lawfully, are Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage – Liability. (However, in the event of an accident resulting in death or personal injury, if the uninsured motorcyclist or car/truck owner with only PIP/PD is charged with causing the accident, his/her drivers license and all vehicle registrations will be suspended. Sections 316.066(3)(a)1 and 324.051(2)(a) of Florida’s Statutes.) Neither coverage compensates the victim of an at-fault party’s negligence for personal injuries and economic losses.
Little can be done to prevent an accident caused by another person’s fault. However, safeguards can be taken to protect against the one in four chance of finding yourself without insurance coverage to compensate for serious personal injuries and economic losses. The answer is Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. (Florida Statute 627.727.)
UM/UIM Coverage is the victim’s own coverage and comes into play when the tortfeasor does not have any (UM) or does not have enough (UIM) liability coverage to fully compensate for the damage caused. It is an optional coverage for which a premium will be charged.
It can prove invaluable.
In theory, at least, Florida’s personal injury laws are designed to make an innocent victim whole following an accident. The theory is that the damaged individual should be fairly and fully compensated for his or her injuries and economic losses. However, for the theory to have true meaning, it must be backed by financial resources. No insurance coverage usually means no financial resources, and thus no compensation for losses.
One in four odds of being left without insurance to cover signficant losses is a risk greater than I am willing to take. It is the reason why I carry UM/UIM coverage for myself and my family members.
Some of the firm’s other motor vehicle insurance blogs:
- Florida Motor Vehicle Insurance Law: What is Stacked Coverage?
- Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Law – Tractor/Trailer Rigs
- Supreme Court of Florida Gives Free Ride to Car Rental Agencies
- Florida Legal Issues Regarding Motorcycle Insurance
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.
Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.