It’s never desirable to be in a car accident, no matter where you are. But if it were going to happen anyway, drivers might want to avoid Florida, if WalletHub.com’s latest report is any indication.
Researchers with the financial news source rated Florida dead last in terms of the economic damage a crash victim is likely to sustain.
It’s not so much that Florida crashes are comparatively worse than those occurring anywhere else.
Rather, the problem has to do with the huge number of uninsured drivers, combined with the state’s puny minimum liability coverage insurance requirements and limited additional coverage, such as medical payments and personal injury protection.
While Florida does require personal injury protection insurance for all drivers – something not every state demands – that’s about the only thing it has going for it. The minimum liability coverage is lower than the vast majority of states. It requires $10,000 in coverage for individuals hurt in a crash, $20,000 is the minimum per-crash coverage for all injured parties and $10,000 is the total amount needed to cover property damage.
As anyone who has ever been involved in a Fort Lauderdale car accident will tell you, this is nowhere near enough. Medical bills alone can easily tally tens of thousands of dollars, particularly if the injuries are longer-lasting.
By comparison, Alaska requires its drivers to carry $50,000 in minimum coverage for individuals injured, a minimum $100,000 in per-crash coverage and at least $25,000 to cover property damage.
Drivers can always elect to carry more coverage, though there is evidence to suggest many in Florida do not.
That’s because the number of uninsured drivers in this state is astronomical – nearly 24 percent. That is one out of every four drivers on the roadway who does not have any insurance whatsoever.
If those drivers or those with minimal insurance are involved in a crash, injured parties or decedent survivors are tasked with pursuing a claim against their own auto insurer through uninsured motorist/ underinsured motorist coverage. It allows accident victims the ability to at least have some recourse in the event a crash is caused by a driver without adequate coverage.
But here’s another problem: While many states require drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage for this very reason, Florida does not. The state does require auto insurers to offer the coverage. But consumers have the choice of turning it down with a signed release, usually in exchange for a lower premium.
As this data underscores, however, doing so comes at a tremendous risk to drivers and their loved ones.
All of this points to the fact that one of the biggest issues is the cost of auto insurance. Presumably, more people would secure insurance or increase their policy protections if it was more affordable.
It should perhaps come as little surprise Florida ranks among the 10 most expensive states for car insurance, according to research by CarInsuranceQuotes.com (an affiliate of financial news source Bankrate.com). With the requirement for personal injury protection, typical residents pay twice for medical coverage – once through health insurance and again through their car insurance.
In a typical year, the average Florida resident is going to spend about $1,800 in car insurance. That represents 3.6 percent of families’ collective household incomes.
PIP reforms initiated by Gov. Rick Scott took effect in 2012 and were intended to reduce fraud and bring down costs over time. That has yet to happen. In fact, is only placed further limits on the rights of victims to recover in the wake of a serious collision. WalletHub’s most recent statistics reveal the true cost we pay for unaffordable car insurance.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
2015’s Most and Least Risky States for Drivers’ Wallets, Jan. 15, 2015, By Richie Bernardo, WalletHub.com
More Blog Entries:
South Florida Report: 3 Killed, 4 Injured in 5-Car Chain Reaction Crash, Dec. 19, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog