Don't Wait for An Accident to Discover You're Not Adequately Covered
A recently published study from the Federal Insurance Office, (FIO), states what we have known for quite a while; Florida is home to the second highest rate of uninsured drivers in the entire country.
The report also dove deep into exactly why so many people – about 24% of total drivers on the road in the Sunshine State – are driving illegally. It's not just that they don't care, (although that is the case in some instances), it's that they cannot afford car insurance coverage.
According to the report, Florida was ranked 25% higher than the national average for the costs of buying car insurance. It cites an example of a 40-year old man with good credit and a clean driving record could expect to pay around $1,654 per year for car insurance. Not being able to afford auto insurance is a dangerous problem that can compound itself. If you can't afford insurance (and don't want to break the law) you can't take a car to your job, so the situation becomes a vicious cycle. Of course as we see all too often at Goldberg Noone Abraham, people are involved in serious car and motorcycle crashes every day with drivers who either have no insurance at all, or are severely under-covered.
The Bare Minimum – PIP Coverage
In Florida, the only mandatory coverage you are required to have by law is called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, in the coverage amount of $10,000, and $10,000 in property damage coverage. People aren't required to purchase UM (Uninsured Motorist) or UIM (Underinsured Motorist) coverage, and in a lot of cases we work on, find out too late that they should have purchased it. In the event you're hit by someone who has no insurance at all, it can be the only option people have in expecting any type of financial recovery after the crash. Whether you were the driver of the car that was hit or the passenger, or maybe you were struck while on foot or riding a bicycle, so many people who don't carry car insurance just leave the scene of an accident. If you cannot locate a person, even though they likely don't have any financial assets worth going after anyway, you'll have zero chance of making any financial recovery. Of course, the likely reason they probably left the scene to begin with is they didn't carry any insurance.
Under Florida law, insurance sales people are required to offer you the option of buying UM / UIM coverage, and if you decline, you're required to sign a form to that effect. And although we understand that a penny saved is a penny earned, we cannot stress enough the importance of buying adequate UM / UIM insurance coverage.
The Federal Insurance Office study took a hard look at just why so many Florida drivers don't have adequate motor vehicle insurance. Their research was meant to illustrate the affordability of car insurance throughout each state, and defined the cost or car insurance as a percentage of overall household income. The study showed that roughly 41% of Florida residents live in what was defined in the report as “under-served” areas of the state. They went on to describe under-served areas as those with a ‘high concentration of minorities and low or moderate incomes.'
The study detailed that auto insurance costs that exceeded 2% or more of the average household's annual income was considered unaffordable. In Florida, that translates to 30% of people living in the under-served areas being unable to afford car insurance.
The irony is clear – you need car insurance to be able to drive to work, to earn a paycheck. But if car insurance is too expensive for such a large percentage of the state's population, too many people often choose to drive without coverage.
The Goldberg Noone Abraham law firm has posted several blogs on what to do if you're hit by an uninsured driver, and you can also read the entire Federal Insurance Office's report here.
The bottom line is simple; don't sit back and wonder what's going to happen if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself involved in any type of motor vehicle crash. One simple, free phone call to Goldberg Noone Abraham, at 239-461-5508 to speak to one of our personal injury attorneys will be all it takes to get the answers you're looking for. We're always available to help you begin to get your life back together.