The study, released by WalletHub, analyzed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia on statutory requirements for liability coverage, compared to the types of insurance required and the estimated number of uninsured drivers.
Florida ranked dead last.
Here in the Sunshine State, drivers must carry minimum liability coverage that allows for:
- Up to $10,000 a person
- Up to $20,000 per accident
- Up to $10,000 in property damage coverage
If you are involved in a serious crash, our Boca Raton accident lawyers know these amounts will barely put a dent in your medical bills. And of course, this assumes the driver who struck you or caused the crash even has insurance. Study authors found nearly 24 percent – almost one out of every five drivers – had no insurance whatsoever. In this regard, it ranked No. 2, second only to Oklahoma.
States that require the most in liability coverage are Alaska and Maine, which both require drivers to carry $50,000 in coverage for up to two people and up to $25,000 in property damage insurance.
While Florida does mandate drivers carry personal injury protection coverage (whereas some states, such as Maine, do not), our state does not require drivers to carry coverage for uninsured motorist coverage.
In terms of liability coverage, Florida has the most lenient requirements, followed by New Jersey, California and Pennsylvania. Our state does require medical coverage, but that apparently does little to boost the overall rating.
There is reportedly no correlation between a state’s requirements regarding liability insurance and the percentage of insured drivers.
Given the large number of uninsured drivers and lack of coverage carried by those who do have insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is essential. The state requires insurers to offer it to customers, but they can decline it in writing and usually catch a break on their premiums. The problem is, while you might save $20 or so a month, it could be very difficult to recover the full amount of damages in the event of a crash without it.
Paying a little extra every month for additional insurance for liability, personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverage can make a huge difference in terms of actual recovery of damages.
While at-fault drivers can be held personally responsible to pay damages, but when those damages exceed tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, it’s sometimes not worth it to pursue.
Additionally, Florida has a huge problem with hit-and-run drivers. A new report by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicates the number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida is up by nearly a third since 2004.
When an at-fault driver is not immediately identifiable, drivers must fall back on their own auto insurance coverage to cover the damages.
Study authors also reached out to a panel of experts to glean advice on what all this means. Generally, they agree that reducing the number of uninsured drivers is a greater priority than increasing the required level of liability coverage each driver is required to carry.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7777 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
2015’s Most and Least Risky States for Drivers’ Wallets, Jan. 15, 2015, By Richie Bernardo, WalletHub
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