I am forced to have uncomfortable conversations regularly with clients and potential clients wherein I inform them that the party that caused their car accident does not have insurance, and that as a result, their chances of making a recovery for their damages is slim to none. An Insurance Research Council study, Uninsured Motorists, 2017 Edition, examined data collected from 14 insurers representing approximately 60 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in 2015. The result was that Florida led the nation in uninsured drivers with 26.7%!
Collision coverage is the type of coverage that you purchase to protect your own car from property damage resulting from an accident, regardless of who is at fault. When another party is responsible for damaging your vehicle that party is supposed to address your damages. In fact, Florida requires that every driver on the road carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and at least $10,000 in Property Damage (PD) coverage. Property Damage coverage protects you in that it covers damage that you cause to the property of another. Due to Florida’s requirement that everyone carry PD coverage, many people with older vehicles that are owned outright (no financing) choose to remove collision from their policy in an effort to save money. Many people feel that they are safe drivers and will “self-insure” against damage they cause and hold someone else responsible should that person be at fault. This sounds like a great way to save money… in theory. In reality, it is a mistake that costs Florida drivers untold sums of money every year.
If a person hits your vehicle and they do not have any insurance coverage, your only remedy is to sue that person individually and obtain a judgment against them. A judgment is essentially just a piece of paper that says what you’re entitled to. Next comes executing that judgment and actually trying to collect money. This is where it gets ugly. This process can take many months and you could easily end up spending more than the cost of the repairs to your car in legal fees and costs alone. You might find yourself in a situation where your car is totaled and you are not in a position to purchase another vehicle.