In the state of Florida Bodily Injury coverage is not required by law. It is our moral responsibility to ensure that if we permanently injure another party in an accident that we carry enough Bodily Injury coverage. Medical bills, Loss of Income, and Quality of Life can be traumatically affected from an accident in a matter of seconds. In addition, it is our moral responsibility as citizens to carry Bodily Injury, our assets could be at risk by not carrying enough coverage. Do you own a home, rental property, have money in your savings account, IRA, or have a paycheck that can be garnished? If you said yes to any of these questions you should carry increased Bodily Injury coverage to protect these assets.
In Florida, you can file a Homestead Exemption on your primary residence. Not only does filing Homestead Exemption lower your taxes, it prevents a third party from forcing you to sell your home in the event someone files a lien against your property. If you are Homestead in Florida, someone can file a lien against your primary property, but they cannot force you to sell your primary home. Any rental property, secondary property, or other assets excluding annuities are not protected from a judgment. For this reason, it is crucial that you carry increased limits of Bodily Injury on your auto policy. If you badly injure someone in an accident and are sued, your Bodily Injury limits will pay first. By carrying higher Bodily Injury limits, the chances of being sued personally are less likely. Only after these limits have been exhausted are your personal assets at risk. More than likely, if an attorney can collect the full Bodily Injury limits on a case for an injured client, they will not sue you personally. We recommend that you carry a minimum of 100,000 per person/300,000 per accident especially if you have assets to protect. If higher limits are not economically feasible, we recommend purchasing a minimum of 25,000/50,000 or 50,000/100,000 limits.
The following true is true and really happened to one of our clients. There was an incident where our client let her sister borrow her vehicle. She owned three properties, a primary home and a two rental properties. Her sister was cut off by a teenage boy driving a motorcycle. His motorcycle flew over my client’s vehicle.The motorcycle had a 16 year old passenger who flew off and hit a palm tree head first. This accident caused her to be practically brain dead and she almost died from the accident. Her family sent our client a letter wanting to sue for 10 million dollars. The insurance company ended up settling with 100,000 in Bodily Injury limits, which barely covered her medical bills. They did not go after our client personally because she carried increase Bodily Injury limits. If she had only 25,000/50,000 in Bodily Injury, it is highly likely that this attorney would have filed a lien against her rental properties. Fortunately, during a customer review a year prior to the accident, we went over all of her assets and made the decision to increase her Bodily Injury limits to 100,000/300,000 from 25,000/50,000. Thank goodness we did, because we were able to help the family of the passenger who was seriously injured.
Another benefit in purchasing higher limits of Bodily Injury is that it enables you to purchase increased limits of Uninsured Motorist. As mentioned earlier Bodily Injury coverage in Florida is not required. It is highly likely that if you are badly injured from a Not at Fault accident it will be from someone carrying no Bodily Injury or low limits of Bodily Injury. By carrying increased limits of Uninsured Motorist coverage, you would be able to collect from your own policy if you were to be permanently injured in an accident. You may also elect to purchase stacked Uninsured Motorist coverage which will multiply per vehicle listed on the policy. An example would be, you are involved in an accident and carry 100/300 stacked Uninsured Motorist. You have four vehicles listed on the policy. You would have 400,000 in coverage, 100,000 x 4 vehicles=400,000. If you or a household relative have been seriously injured in an accident causing loss of income, this coverage would prove to be very valuable.
Please contact your agent for a customer review once a year to ensure that you do not carry a gap in coverage. Always keep your agent aware of any property you own or other assets. This way your agent can ensure that you are adequately protected.