Uninsured motorist coverage applies when the tortfeasor (at fault party) strikes your vehicle and causes damages but either did not carry bodily injury insurance coverage or did not carry enough bodily injury insurance coverage. If you are involved in an accident, the first place to look for coverage would be the bodily injury (BI) coverage of the tortfeasor. If that person does not carry BI or only has minimal coverage then you are out of luck unless you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Many insurance salespersons do not properly explain the benefits of UM coverage. They do not mention the need for such coverage. Often, you will be told that in order to keep your premiums low you should not elect to have UM coverage. You should elect to have UM coverage, despite what any insurance salesperson may tell you. If you do not carry UM on your auto policy then you will be at the mercy of the insurance coverage, or lack thereof, of the tortfeasor. There are many cases in which a person is injured in an auto accident, does not carry UM, and the at fault party has no BI or only a “10/20” policy; i.e., $10,000.00/person maximum but up to $20,000.00 total. Hospital bills alone can range in the thousands for even low impact auto accidents depending upon the factors of the collision.
Additionally, chiropractors and MRIs will use up most of the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If you have herniated discs or any significant injury then without UM you are risking having minimal or no coverage for your medical expenses and treatment options.
In Florida, uninsured motorist coverage nor bodily injury coverage are required by law. However, this may soon change as the legislature in Florida has been proposing amendments to PIP coverage and moving towards a system of requiring bodily injury coverage. As of this posting of this article, PIP is the only required coverage and BI is not required by law.