There’s one event that can alter and derail your life altogether – a car accident. It can be devastating, and more often than not, there is either no insurance or not enough insurance available to fully compensate you for another driver’s carelessness. Do you have enough insurance to protect you and your family?

There are more than 15 million motorists in Florida, and over a third of those have no insurance.

Did you know that Florida requires a driver to carry only $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage coverage? That’s it. Florida does not require liability insurance to cover any of the injuries or expenses that you may incur as a result of someone else’s carelessness.

In Florida, if you are in an accident caused by someone else, there’s a good chance that there won’t be enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you unless you take steps to protect yourself now.

Bill Robertson, a personal injury attorney and CEO for Kirk-Pinkerton, P.A., has been practicing law for over 32 years and has had to turn away clients due to a lack of insurance coverage.

“I turn away over half of the accident victims I talk to because there’s no insurance to pay the claim,” says Robertson. “It’s important to protect yourself against uninsured or underinsured drivers. The only way to make sure you’re properly protected is to have your own policy, so you have some recourse in the event of an accident that was caused by someone else.”

There are three major parts to an insurance claim: liability (who did something wrong); damages (did their negligence cause damage or injury); and sometimes most importantly, collectability (the ability to compensate the victim of a crash.)

If the driver deemed at fault is uninsured or underinsured and doesn’t have the means to pay for the damages caused by the accident, then there is no way to pursue a claim. The injured party is left without any recovery.

For example, if you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist resulting in damages of $100,000, but the negligent driver has inadequate insurance coverage and no assets, how can you be compensated for the loss?

Robertson says the only way to protect yourself is to carry uninsured motorist coverage; then you can look to your own auto insurance policy to pay the claim. In short, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will provide a way to be reimbursed for the damages the other driver would have paid if they had adequate insurance and/or collectible assets.

So how much coverage should a person be carrying at any given time? According to Robertson, in addition to the standard PIP and property damage insurance required by law, motorists should have a minimum of $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident of bodily injury liability coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage protects you and your assets in the event you are involved in an accident and hurt someone else.

Robertson also recommends motorists carry an additional $2,000 to $10,000 in medical payments coverage. This is a supplemental insurance that you can purchase on your policy, which will pay the additional 20 percent of your medical bills that PIP insurance doesn’t cover to eliminate potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Motorists should also carry $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident of uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed to reimburse you in the event someone injures you who either doesn’t have insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover the full extent of your damages, including lost wages, medical bills and injuries.

Finally, Robertson recommends that motorists carry $50,000 in property damage, collision and rental car coverage.

“There’s one event that could just devastate your life and statistically it’s a car wreck,” says Robertson. “So protect yourself and protect yourself from being sued in case it’s your fault.”

Almost every time Robertson meets with a client, they say they have full coverage. In Florida, that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s impossible to protect yourself after the accident.

Robertson would be happy to review a policy, coverage options and the limits he recommends. His goal is to make sure people are educated and have the right amount of coverage before an accident occurs.

“Finding out you don’t have the right insurance when you need it is devastating,” says Robertson. “Do not wait until you are in an accident to find out that you do not have enough insurance.”