What About Uninsured Motorist Coverage? Should I elect or reject coverage?
If you or a resident relative are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and you or the relative (and even passengers in your vehicle) are injured, who will pay for the medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress or pain and suffering sustained due to the accident? The other driver may not have insurance or may have low bodily injury liability limits. Some protection will be available with Personal Injury Protection coverage on your automobile policy for you and your resident relative, but PIP coverage is typically $10,000.
What if the medical bills and expenses are close to $100,000 each? If you elect to carry Uninsured Motorist bodily injury coverage, there would be coverage available up to the selected limit.
Total rejection of uninsured motorist coverage can lead to a worst-case scenario that no one wants to experience: no coverage. You, your resident relative, or a passenger in your vehicle, then has to pay out of pocket for their expenses. Even if all injured parties have health insurance, there could be expenses not covered by health insurance. Examples include lost wages, emotional distress and pain and suffering.
Not long ago, Florida ranked 1st for the highest percentage of uninsured motorists. That’s a startling statistic – and yet another reason to reconsider adding or stacking uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.
We suggest you elect the same limits of uninsured motorist coverage for all insurance policies, you should check for gaps in coverage. If your auto policy has 250/500 and your motorcycle policy has 100/300, you are not getting the same coverage from one policy to the next.
Stacked or Non-Stacked Uninsured Motorist coverage: What’s the difference?
Let’s picture uninsured motorist coverage as buckets filled with insurance protection. Each vehicle on a policy has a bucket of coverage. Each bucket contains uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of 100/300 ($100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident) and there are three vehicles on the policy.
There would be three buckets, one for each vehicle, filled with 100/300 limits.
If the automobile policy has non-stacked uninsured motorist coverage, each vehicle has 100/300 coverage available for each vehicle individually. If the policy holder or a covered resident relative are injured by an uninsured driver, there is only the one bucket of coverage available for the vehicle involved in the accident.
Now, use this same example but change the coverage to stacked uninsured motorist. All buckets of coverage are stacked together to give three times the amount of coverage to the one car involved in the accident. Therefore, the available coverage would be 300/900.
Please keep in mind that the stacked limit will change if the number of vehicles on the automobile policy changes. Let’s say you delete a vehicle – then the maximum limit would change to 200/600 because there are two vehicles on the policy.
Stacking uninsured motorist coverage, selecting coverage limits, or rejecting coverage completely, is a personal decision. We recommend our clients consider stacked limits.