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In a recent article, I briefly touched on the subject of Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM) and why I felt it is one of the most essential forms of insurance that you should carry on your vehicles. In that article, it was explained how, due to the fact that Florida law does not require drivers to carry Bodily Injury Coverage, without Uninsured Motorist Insurance, you could be left holding the bag for your medical bills, if you are injured in an automobile accident.

In this post, I would like to take a little closer look at this subject and further explain the ins and outs of Uninsured Motorist Insurance and what you need to know before buying it.

What is UM?

In simple terms Uninsured Motorist Insurance covers you, if you should be in an accident and the at fault person, doesn’t have or doesn’t have enough, bodily injury coverage.

Don’t Believe Your Agent

The first thing that you need to be aware of is that insurance companies hate this type of policy and will do their best to dissuade you from purchasing it. They won’t necessarily misrepresent it to you, which could be construed as fraud, but they will tell you things like, you have “Full Coverage”, you don’t need it.

Know this; “Full Coverage” does not exist as a legal term and what this usually means, is you have the minimum that the law requires you to carry. You should also be aware and watch for a waiver form, which the law requires them to have you sign stating you don’t want UM.

Two Types of Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Next be aware that there are two types of UM; stacked and non-stacked. Stacked is the coverage that you want and I’ll explain why.

Say you have three vehicles; your work truck, your bike for the weekends and a family van. You have $100,000 of stacked UM coverage on each one. In actuality, what you have is $300,000 of coverage, because the coverage on each vehicle can be STACKED on top of its sister policies. If you have non-stacked UM this is not the case.

What if I Only Have One Vehicle?

Even if you only have one vehicle Stacked Uninsured Motorist Insurance is still the wise choice, for a very simple reason. Stacked UM covers you even if you are not in your car or on your bike. It will follow you wherever you go, Non-Stacked doesn’t.

You can be driving someone else’s car, riding as a passenger, walking the sidewalk or sitting on top of a flagpole and if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist your Stacked UM will cover your injuries. If you have purchased Non-Stacked UM it doesn’t. This makes Stacked Uninsured Motorist Insurance the clear winner for value.

I have Disability and Medical Insurance, Why add UM?

This is a common question, but instead of answering I’ll tell you a story. Johnny and his wife are riding in a charity Poker Run one weekend. A pickup truck in front of them loses a piece of wood out of its bed, striking their front wheel and causing them to high-side. Johnny’s wife is injured, but will be OK.

Johnny unfortunately, suffers a spinal cord injury and is paralyzed. The truck driver doesn’t have Bodily Injury Insurance.

Thankfully, Johnny has Medical and Disability Insurance so his medical treatments are taken care of and he will receive a percentage of his wages for the rest of his life.

Regrettably, neither of these policies will compensate him for his pain and suffering, his loss of quality of life or even pay to have his house remodeled to accommodate his wheelchair.

If they have UM Insurance they will have an above average chance of receiving some compensation from their policy, even if it means filling a Bodily Injury lawsuit against their insurance. Without it, they will have to muddle through, best that they can, on their own reduced resources.