One day as you’re out running errands, another driver runs a Stop sign and smacks into your car. You’re both able to move out of the intersection, but when you go get his insurance information, he tells you he doesn’t have insurance. That’s just great—now what?
Unfortunately, if you’re in an accident in Florida, you have a higher than average chance of that happening. Florida has the most uninsured motorists in the U.S.—a full 26.7 percent, according to statistics from the Insurance Information Institute.
What you should do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver is not that different from what you would do if the other driver has insurance:
- Call the police. Having a police report will help with the claims process, whether or not the parties involved are insured. Get the name and badge number of the responding officer.
- Stay at the scene of the accident. Unless you need to leave to seek medical attention or to avoid a dangerous situation, you should not leave until after the police arrive and you’ve reported the accident.
- Get some basic information. Record the contact information of the other driver, the make and model of the vehicle, and the time and location of the accident. If there are witnesses, get their contact information also. Snap photos of your car and the other vehicle, including its license plate.
- Make a claim if necessary. Since Florida is a no-fault state, you would already need to make a claim on your own policy if you are injured. But since the other driver had no insurance, if you need insurance help to take care of injuries that exceed your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit, or if your vehicle is damaged, you’ll also have to make a claim on your own insurance policy if you have the appropriate insurance coverage (see below).
Can you sue the other driver?
Of course, you could try taking the other driver to court, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to collect, even if you win. Many uninsured drivers simply don’t have the funds to pay.
What about uninsured motorist insurance?
You may be wondering right now about the place of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in this situation. Remember, UM covers your and your passengers’ injuries once you’ve used up your PIP coverage. In a minor accident, PIP may be enough, but for a more serious accident, you may need to tap your UM coverage. Note: uninsured motorist coverage will also pay if the other driver in underinsured—i.e., he or she does have liability insurance, but not enough to cover the severity and expense of treating your injuries. UM will also cover you if you’re in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
For vehicle damage by an uninsured motorist, your collision coverage pays, less your deductible.
Of course, we hope you never have to deal with this situation, but given the statistics, it’s better to be aware of the possibility and prepare for it if possible. Lakewood Financial agents are standing by to give you an auto insurance quote, explain insurance coverage options, or simply answer your questions regarding what coverages are most appropriate for you. Please give us a call at 941-747-4600, or contact us online for all your insurance needs.