Stacking Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Policies in Florida
If you have been injured in a car accident, you might have catastrophic medical bills and lose out on months of wages. As a result, you will easily exhaust your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. If the other driver has a basic bodily injury liability policy worth $25,000, you will probably exhaust that, too. At this point, you need to turn to your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, called UM.
Opting to stack UM coverage is a terrific benefit, and one you should take advantage of. Read on for more information.
How Stacking Works
In Florida, you can stack UM policies to increase the amount of money available to pay for medical bills, replace any lost wages, and compensate you for pain and suffering. You can stack within a policy or across policies. Consider the following examples:
- Michael has a UM policy with a $50,000 policy limit. He has three vehicles covered under the policy. In the event of an accident, Michael needs to tap his UM benefits because he has exhausted his PIP benefits and the other driver did not have bodily injury insurance. In this case, Michael can stack the policy benefits for each of his three cars, giving him $150,000 available.
- Karen and Tyler are married. Karen has a $100,000 UM policy for her car. Her husband, Tyler, has a $50,000 UM policy for his truck. If Karen is in an accident, she can stack both her policy and her husband’s policy, giving her $150,000 in available benefits.
As you can see, stacking dramatically increases the amount of coverage available, which is helpful in particularly catastrophic accidents.
Consumers Can Choose whether to Stack
In Florida, most UM policies should be set to automatically stack. If you are shopping for a policy, you typically do not have to do anything to request stacking.
However, consumers can waive the stacking option. Some waive the option to get a lower premium or because they do not understand all the benefits of stacking. If you choose not to stack, you are limited to benefits in the face amount of the policy. This means you might have three vehicles covered under a $50,000 policy, but $50,000 is only available in UM coverage if you need it.
Why You Should Stack
Unfortunately, Florida is one of the states with the highest number of uninsured drivers. In fact, almost 25% of drivers have no insurance. If you get into an accident, you will only be able to use your PIP benefits because the other driver will not have any BI insurance. Furthermore, BI insurance is optional in Florida, so few pick it up. For these reasons, risk-averse consumers will buy UM coverage and, to provide maximum benefits, choose to stack the coverage.
Involved in a Crash? Reach out to a Delray Beach Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, many of our clients are buried under an avalanche of insurance forms and medical bills. If you need help, please reach out to a Delray Beach car accident lawyer at Earnhart Law today. We have helped many accident victims get the compensation they deserve.