In your road-heavy life as a Realtor, you are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than most any other profession. Are you protected?
It’s a nightmare scenario: A typical busy day, much of it spent in the car. You are driving from one showing to the next – maybe you even have a client in the car with you – and in a blink, another driver crosses the centerline and plows into you head-on. Your car is totaled. You end up with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, permanent injuries and you cannot work.
Worse yet, the other driver has no insurance to pay your medical bills, lost wages or any of the expenses to take care of you. This is not your fault, but you may end up with nothing unless you take the steps necessary to insure yourself and your clients against uninsured drivers like this before the crash occurs.
Realtors are on the road all the time. Of all the professions out there, they are probably most likely to get into an automobile accident in Florida. And due to this state’s minimal insurance requirements, an accident can have lasting, devastating financial effects, for both you and your business.
Do you know your insurance needs? Do you have what it takes to protect yourself? If you wait until you are in an accident to ask yourself these questions, then it’s already too late.
Most people don’t know that Florida mandates very minimal insurance in order to drive. All that is required is $10,000 of personal injury protection, which is the no-fault coverage to pay your medical bills and $10,000 worth of property damage coverage, which covers damage to someone else’s car if you are at fault. That is it. There is no requirement that drivers carry liability insurance, which is the coverage that you would need to pay your claim.
There are 15 million licensed drivers in Florida and approximately one-third of those drivers have no more than this minimal insurance coverage. That is 5 million drivers out there who might hit you, devastate you and put you out of work or injure your clients but have no insurance to compensate you for the damages they cause. That means that you have to choose the right coverage for yourself.
Conversely, what if you are the one who is distracted and cause an accident that injures someone else in another car? Your assets are vulnerable to their claims. If your own liability insurance is not enough to cover their losses, your assets can be taken to pay the damages you caused that are not covered by the insurance. A judgment creditor can garnish wages, levy accounts and seize buildings. The things you work so hard to accumulate for you and your family could be lost.
How can you protect yourself against these devastating scenarios? As a Realtor, you need to do two things: First, be defensive. Make sure you have enough insurance to pay damages to somebody else who might sue you if you cause an accident. That liability insurance protects you and your assets.
But it is just as important to make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself from those 5 million drivers who might run a stop sign and debilitate you with no insurance or assets to cover your medical bills or earnings losses. You can buy uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy, so you can look to your own insurance company to pay you what the at-fault driver should have paid.
I have been representing injured parties in cases like this for over 32 years. In that time and to this day, I have to turn away clients because the other driver has no insurance and the injured party chose not to purchase uninsured motorist coverage on their own policy. I really hate the conversations when I have to tell them there is nothing I can do to help.
If I can get the word out to people to protect themselves against these devastating situations, I won’t have to have that conversation with you then. I would be happy to offer free consultation to review your insurance with you and let you know if you are properly covered.
Are you protected? After an accident it’s too late to ask that question. Call me any time at my office at 941-364-2433 or on my cell at 941-374-9008. I look forward to hearing from you.
By: Bill Robertson, a Florida personal injury lawyer who specializes in representing clients with personal injury claims. In practice for 32 years, Bill has helped thousands of personal injury clients.