A new analysis conducted by the Federal Insurance Office reveals millions of Americans live in swaths of the country where car insurance is not affordable. In an analysis of 9,000 ZIP codes with high numbers of “underserved” people, including those with low-to-moderate incomes and minorities, approximately 10 percent lived in regions where auto insurance cost them 2 percent or more of their household income. That equates to 19 million people nationally.
Here in Florida, the percentage of uninsured drivers in Florida was approximately 24 percent, or about 1 in 5. That’s the second-highest uninsured driver rate in the country. The cost of insurance can’t be discounted as a primary reason for this. The federal researchers concluded that a 40-year-old man with a clean driving record and a strong credit score would pay $1,655 annually for car insurance. That’s 25 percent more than the national average.
When researchers looked at Florida ZIP codes, they found that among all of Florida’s 19 million residents, about 41 percent – or 7.9 million people – live in ZIP codes that have high concentrations of people who are considered under-served. Nearly 30 percent of all people in those ZIP codes pay more than 2 percent of their income on car insurance, which amounts to about 3 million people.
The state requires every driver of every vehicle with four wheels to obtain auto insurance coverage, with a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection benefits and $10,000 in property damage. Drivers who have prior crashes or other violations may also have to carry at least $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage and $20,000 in coverage per occurrence.
State law does not require drivers to carry uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, but F.S. 627.727 does require auto insurance companies to offer it, and customers can only turn it down if they do so in writing. However, as our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers can explain, uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage is critical – particularly when we consider how many people in Florida are not insured.
Uninsured motorist coverage will cover you in the event you are:
- Struck by a driver who doesn’t have any insurance;
- Struck by a driver who is not identified (i.e., hit-and-run).
Underinsured motorist coverage will cover in the event you are:
- Struck by a driver who doesn’t have enough bodily injury liability coverage to foot the bill for the full extent of your damages, which can easily exceed six figures if you’re seriously hurt.
This type of coverage can be especially helpful when there are numerous people injured in the same accident, and they’re all vying for a slice of the same pie. If a bodily injury liability policy offers up to $15,000 per person but only $25,000 per incident and there are two of you who are equally injured, the most you will get is $12,500. If you can supplement that with compensation from UM/ UIM coverage, you’ll have a much better chance of being fully compensated.
UM/ UIM coverage can also be offered to those who have been injured in a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, even though they were not actually behind the wheel of a motor vehicle at the time of the crash.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Millions Live Where Car Insurance Is Unaffordable, Study Says, Jan. 25, 2017, By Ann Carrns, The New York Times
More Blog Entries:
Entila v. Cook – Suing a Co-Worker for Personal Injury, Jan. 26, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog