Understanding the Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Coverage in Florida

maze2.jpgUninsured/Underinsured vehicle insurance, described in Florida Statute 627.727, is first party insurance that covers non-economic damages (e.g., pain & suffering), economic losses (e.g., lost wages) and medical expenses realized by insureds through the negligence of uninsured or underinsured (i.e., losses exceed policy limits) owners and operators of motor vehicles. In Florida, where a high percentage of vehicle owners do not maintain bodily injury (BI) coverage or, if they do, only carry it up to a limit of $10,000, having UM/UIM is the only sure way of providing some degree of economic protection against the catastrophic losses a serious motor vehicle accident can cause.

UM/UIM can be stacked or non-stacked. The most well known function of stacked coverage is to increase policy limits for owners of multiple vehicles insured under the same insurance policy. For example, the owner of three vehicles insured under the same policy, with stacked UM/UIM coverage with limits of $100,000 per vehicle, really has $300,000 worth of coverage for the the types of losses described in the paragraph above.

Stacked coverage serves another valuable function.

It is not unusual for owners of multiple vehicles to have some or all of their vehicles covered under separate policies. This can be problematic because most insurance policies issued in Florida exclude the extension of UM/UIM when the accident happens in a vehicle “owned by an insured but not insured under this policy.” In other words, the UM/UIM on one vehicle does not transfer to another vehicle owned by the same person.

Having stacked UM/UIM on even one of the insured vehicles overcomes the exclusion. In the example above, $100,000 is available to the insured no matter which vehicle the insured was occupying during the accident. Another way of thinking of it is that stacked UM/UIM follows the insured everywhere. Non-stacked coverage does not.

Florida insurance law can be a puzzle. It is best to seek the advice of legal counsel before and after an accident to learn your rights.

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 toll-free at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your rights.

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