AUTO INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS IN FLORIDA:
Under Florida Law, before you register a vehicle with at least four wheels, you must show proof of only two types of insurance: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL). Florida drivers are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage AND a minimum of $10,000 on PDL.
Florida is a “no fault” state, meaning that the first $10,000 of your medical bills have to go through your own PIP coverage on your own auto insurance policy. Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage will pay 80% of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Also, unless you reduce your coverage with a work loss exclusion, PIP will also pay 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault.
Property Damage Liability or PDL coverage is coverage you must carry to pay for damages you are legally liable for causing to another person’s vehicle. Again, Florida only requires you to carry $10,000 in this type of coverage.
WHAT IS “NOT” LEGALLY REQUIRED IN FLORIDA:
It is not mandatory in Florida for drivers to carry bodily injury (BI) coverage. Bodily injury or BI coverage is coverage you purchase so that if you, or a driver of a vehicle you own, negligently cause injury or death to another person, you have coverage for those injuries and damages you cause up to the amount of coverage you purchase.
The Florida Department of Financial Services has a detailed Automobile Insurance Toolkit that explains how BI works. Basically, “anytime an accident occurs involving your insured vehicle (whether or not you are driving,) the possibility exists that you may be held financially responsible for any damages. This coverage not only covers the actual loss incurred up to the amount of coverage; it can also provide coverage for your defense if you are sued.”
Collision Coverage may be required if you are leasing a vehicle or if you finance your vehicle through the lender, but otherwise it is not legally required in our state. Collision coverage pays for the repairs or the actual cash value of your vehicle if it collides with another vehicle, flips over or crashes into an object, regardless of who causes the accident.
Another type of important coverage that is not mandatory in Florida is Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. This coverage pays for your own bodily injuries or death when the at-fault party has no bodily injury coverage (is uninsured) or doesn’t have enough bodily injury coverage (is underinsured) to adequately compensate you for your losses.
Again, the Florida Department of Financial Services Automobile Insurance Toolkit is an excellent resource to find detailed information about this type of coverage. It also walks you through important facts about UM/UIM coverage and how you can maximize the coverage.
WHY YOU NEED MORE THAN THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:
Unfortunately, according to research by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) posted on the Insurance Information Institute website, Florida has one of the highest percentage of uninsured motorists in the country.
Sadly, as Covid-19 numbers have increased, so has the unemployment rates in our state. An enormous amount of businesses and industries have been severely affected. Many Americans have lost their jobs or have been furloughed without a set date of return to work. In face of the new reality, it is no surprise Americans must cut back on their cost of living. One expense they look to cut: auto insurance. The bottom line is when drivers drop their coverage, and even become uninsured or underinsured, many drivers will be unprotected if involved in an car crash.
For example, say you are rear-ended by a negligent driver in Jupiter, Florida. The force of the impact pushes your car into the vehicle in front of you. Your vehicle is totaled, the vehicle in front of you is also damaged, and you suffer severe injuries. Your injuries require you to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. Then you have to see specialists, have x-rays and MRI studies and go to the physical therapy or chiropractor. Maybe, you even need surgery to treat your injuries.
If the at-fault driver and you only have the minimum Florida legal requirement, you could be left with substantial losses. Here’s how:
Property Damage: if the at-fault driver only has the minimum of $10,000 in property damage PDL coverage to repair or pay for all damaged vehicles, $10,000 may not be enough to pay for your car and the other vehicle you were pushed in to. This is why it is crucial for you to purchase collision on your own policy. Otherwise, if you don’t have collision on your own policy, you may not even receive enough money to pay for the repair and/or value of your car.
Injuries: If the at-fault driver does not have any bodily injury coverage (is uninsured) the only monies you will have for your medical bills and lost wages will be the $10,000 you have in PIP benefits with your own insurance company. This amount can quickly become exhausted by the costs of the paramedic, ER visits, expensive tests and doctors visits. Also, PIP only pays 80% of your medical bills up to the $10,000 amount. Without the at-fault driver having bodily injury, you can be left owing thousands in medical bills and go uncompensated for your lost wages.
Also, even if the at-fault driver does have bodily injury or BI coverage, they may only have a relatively small policy of $10,000. This amount may still not be enough for your medical bills, particularly if you suffer serious injuries. In other words, the at-fault driver is under-insured.
The best way to protect yourself in these instances is to purchase UM/UIM or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Through this type of coverage, you make a claim through your own insurance company for your injuries up to the amount of coverage.
FREE AUTO INSURANCE REVIEW – CONSULT A KNOWLEDGEABLE AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER:
During these unprecedented times, the last thing one needs is to worry about is auto insurance coverage. Understanding all the benefits and reading the small print along with the very lengthy never-ending pages of an auto policy can be exhausting, not to mention, confusing.
Let us help. Call us today to speak with one of our reliable, reputable and responsive attorneys for a free auto insurance review.
Stay safe & secure and let us help you make sure that you are covered.