The Risks Associated With Underinsured Floridian Drivers
Full coverage car insurance ensures vehicles are protected in most types of accidents. But it doesn’t come cheap. Bankrate reports that drivers with full coverage auto insurance pay an average of $138 per month or $1,655 per year. Floridians have to pay 41% above the national average, though. This sky-high cost has resulted in many Florida-based drivers driving underinsured and this is putting others at risk.
Florida’s auto laws
Florida’s auto laws state that all vehicle owners must have a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PD). PIP will cover the cost of the driver’s medical bills if they’re injured in a crash, while PD pays for any damages caused to another person’s property. Florida has been criticized for being the only state that hasn’t made bodily injury liability mandatory. This coverage ensures the medical costs of all other people in the collision, including other drivers, are paid.
Despite Florida being the third most populated state in America, it has some of the most lenient auto insurance laws. $10,000 PIP and PD coverage is very low and is much less than the minimum requirement in less-populated states. For example, in Kansas, drivers must carry a minimum of $25.000 PD coverage. In New York, the lowest amount of PIP cover a driver can have is $50,000. Legally, drivers in Florida with PIP and PD insurance aren’t doing anything wrong. But, there is a big impact on others when they choose to underinsure themselves in this way.
Florida has the highest number of uninsured drivers, at 26.7%. It is not known how many are classed as being underinsured, but studies have found that individuals who are uninsured or underinsured take bigger risks on the road than those with full auto coverage. A 2018 study revealed that uninsured drivers are 34% more likely to be involved in a road accident than insured drivers. It’s thought that people who are willing to drive with inadequate insurance are already risk-takers, so they’re prepared to drive dangerously too. Some of the most common causes of vehicle accidents in Florida include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and driving an unlawful vehicle. In comparison, in Texas, failure to yield, red-light running, and driving too close to other vehicles is among the most frequent causes of road collisions. These types of crashes can cause serious injuries, such as head injuries, broken bones, and spinal damage. A personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents is often needed to review the details of the car accident and to advise on the probability of claiming damages.
The impact of Florida’s auto laws
On average there are around 400,000 road accidents in Florida every year. This shows that there’s a high chance that a driver will be involved in an auto collision at one time or another. Personal injuries are common in car accidents and Floridians experience more than 250,000 car accident-related injuries every year. The problem is that if multiple drivers only have the minimum car insurance required and a serious accident happens, just $10,000 of the medical bills are covered. Car accident-related medical bills are typically more than $50,000, so there could be big out-of-pocket expenses to be paid by all injured parties.
Reducing the risk
For everyone’s benefit, it’s best for Floridians to have a full coverage policy in place. Drivers who choose not to take up this coverage should consider other ways to increase their protection. One option is to take out PIP and PD cover with a value greater than $10,000. It’s also recommended to have bodily injury liability coverage to ensure all parties’ medical costs are covered. As there are so many drivers in Florida driving around without appropriate insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage) is worthwhile. This type of cover provides financial assistance to drivers that are hit by another driver who is underinsured. Many drivers find this crucial as it can stop them from experiencing serious financial repercussions across all aspects of their lives.
Sadly, underinsured drivers are a common problem across Florida. It’s important to remember that the low auto insurance level requirements in the state are a guideline and that it’s best to take out as much coverage as possible.
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