UM (uninsured/underinsured) is that type of automobile insurance that covers losses caused by drivers who have no insurance, or do not have enough insurance, to fully compensate for the losses they have caused. Under most auto insurance policies, this includes the losses caused by a hit and run driver who is never found. So, if you are the victim of a hit and run driver who has left the scene of an accident and who is never identified, your own insurance carrier can provide the insurance coverage you may need.
The amount of UM coverage you purchase is up to you, but you should keep several things in mind. Depending on what you can afford, the general principle is that more is better. First, consider the high cost of medical care, especially if hospitalization or surgery is required. You should realize that these days a typical trip to the emergency room simply to be checked out and released can often cost in the range of $4,000 to $7,000 for the ambulance and the hospital alone. If an emergency requires a medevac (helicopter) transport to the ER, this alone can be another $5,000 to $10,000. It is not uncommon for the cost of hospitalization and surgery to approach or exceed $100,000. So, UM coverage of at least $100,000 is highly recommended; while coverage of $250,000 or even $500,000 is preferable. However, by law, the amount your UM coverage will be limited to the amount of your BI (bodily injury) liability coverage. To enhance your UM coverage, one great option is “stacking.” Stacking allows you to add together the amount of the UM coverage you may have on other vehicles you own. So, if you have $100,000.00 of UM on vehicle involved in the crash, and you have another $100,000.00 of UM coverage on a second vehicle which you own, you can add those together for a total of $200,000 of UM coverage. That is the amount which would then be available if you elected to stack your UM coverage. Note, under Florida law, insurance carriers are required to offer and provide stacked UM coverage, unless the policy holders opts out. The insurance company is required to obtain the signature of the insured party documenting the decision to not have stacked UM Coverage. Without a signed waiver, stacking is required and is presumed. UM coverage will not prevent an accident, but, if you are the victim of a hit and run, it will insure that you have adequate insurance to pay for your medical expenses, your pain and suffering, and your other losses.
Conclusion: If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, or any crash in which the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance to cover your losses, we are here to help you review your insurance coverage and pursue a UM claim, if appropriate.
Note: This article is provided as a public service and is for general information only. It is not intended, and should not be considered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For specific legal issues it is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified and experienced attorney. You are welcome to call us with any questions about your legal rights.