Florida Auto Insurance Explained
Auto insurance in Florida can be confusing. Which coverages are required? Which are optional? How can you best protect yourself using insurance coverage? Who and what is covered by these different types of insurance? Here are the ABC’s of auto insurance coverage in Florida:
A = ABSOLUTELY! Coverages in this category are REQUIRED by Florida Law
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD).
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP)
PIP covers you and pays for the following:
- Your medical treatment (80% of medical treatment due to an accident, up to policy limits, generally $10,000).
- Covers your lost wages if you are unable to continue working at your current employment. It will pay up to 60 percent of wages lost due to an injury sustained in an accident.
- The cost of replacing what is known as “essential services.” Those are services normally performed by the injured person in daily life, such as housekeeping.
- A death benefit of $5,000.
WHAT IS COVERED UNDER PROPERTY DAMAGE (PD)?
Under the required Property Damage (PD) coverage, the property of the other person involved in the car accident or car crash is covered – not you or your property. PIP covers you; PD covers the property of the other person(s) involved. PD will pay for the damage caused by your car to someone else’s property, such as another vehicle, a building, a fence, lamp posts, etc.
B = BETTER HAVE!
Although these coverages are not mandatory, they are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:
Bodily Injury (BI) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM).
BODILY INJURY (BI)
While it is not mandated by Florida car insurance laws, you SHOULD have Bodily Injury (BI) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage. BI provides coverage for damages suffered by the driver(s) and passenger(s) of other vehicles involved in a car accident, along with any pedestrians involved. Those damages include medical treatment, lost wages due to the inability to maintain current employment, and pain and suffering, both present and future.
UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST (UM) COVERAGE
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) is often not purchased because consumers do not understand what this coverage provides. However, it is arguably the most important type of auto insurance to have. UM covers you and your passenger(s) for damages resulting from an accident; it pays for medical treatment (after PIP is exhausted), pain and suffering, and lost wages due to the inability to continue working at your current job. It can be stacking or non-stacking.
For example, if you purchase stacking UM coverage with limits of $100,000/$300,000 and have two cars on the policy, you will have access to coverage of $200,000 per person/$600,000 per accident. Three cars on that same stacking UM policy would provide coverage of $300,000 per person/$900,000 per accident.
If the policy is non-stacking, the number of cars on the policy does not increase the limits available.
- You are rear-ended by a driver who carries only the minimum insurance required by Florida: PIP and PD. You also have only the required coverages. How much coverage is available to you following this accident? Answer: your PIP coverage (usually $10,000) and the other party’s PD coverage to repair your vehicle.
- The same scenario as #1 but the other driver also carries BI of $25,000. Coverage available to you is $35,000 (your PIP plus the other party’s BI) along with the other party’s PD coverage to repair your vehicle.
- The same scenario as #2 but you also have non-stacking UM coverage of $100,000. Coverage available to you is $135,000 (your PIP + other party’s BI + your UM) along with the other party’s PD coverage to repair your vehicle.
- The same scenario as #2 but you have stacking UM coverage of $100,000 and 3 vehicles on the policy. Coverage available to you is $335,000 plus the other party’s PD coverage to repair your vehicle.
Although you can’t control what coverages other drivers have, the examples above illustrate the importance of having UM coverage to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
C = Can Have – These coverages are optional:
Medical Payments (MedPay), Collision, Comprehensive and Rental Reimbursement.
Medical Payments (MedPay) cover the driver and passenger(s) and pays for the 20 percent of medical treatment not covered by PIP. Collision insurance covers repairs to your car.
Comprehensive coverage pays for repairs to your car that are caused by falling objects, fire, vandalism, contact with animals (such as deer or birds), and natural disasters (such as floods, hail, earthquakes, and windstorms).
Rental reimbursement has limited coverage for rental vehicles when your car is being repaired due to a covered incident.
What happens if you fail to carry the coverages required by Florida car insurance laws? Your driver’s license may be suspended and you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the other party’s damages (medical treatment, lost wages, pain, and suffering). Those costs can be significant! To properly protect yourself, call the car crash lawyers of Casas Law in West Palm Beach, Florida.
We offer a FREE INSURANCE REVIEW to help you better understand the insurance coverages you have and what else you may need. Call us today at 561-655-8444 to schedule an appointment and receive an insurance cardholder as our gift to you when you come in.
Remember, if you don’t carry UM insurance and the “at fault” driver has no bodily injury coverage, there is no compensation for your medical treatment after PIP is exhausted and no compensation for your pain and suffering. Let us help you ensure that you’re properly insured! Get on contact with the Casas Law West Palm Beach Attorneys.
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