All drivers in Florida are required to purchase auto insurance. In fact, you must show proof of personal injury protection and property damage liability auto insurance just to register your car with the state.
However, there is a big difference between what is required by law and what drivers truly need in terms of coverage to protect themselves in the event of an accident. And considering that more than 20% of Florida drivers take to the road with no form of insurance, failure to purchase additional auto insurance coverage could spell financial disaster in the event of a catastrophic accident.
At Redondo Law, we believe there is no such thing as being too insured. Optional coverage, such as bodily injury liability, collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage are all forms of insurance that drivers in Florida ought to purchase. Without additional auto insurance coverage, drivers risk exposing their personal assets and health.
Did you know that Florida is one of ten states that operates under a no-fault system for auto insurance?
All drivers in Florida are required to carry what is known as personal injury protection, or PIP, auto insurance. Rather than establishing who was at fault through the court system, PIP insurance is designed to provide injured drivers up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage after an accident.
The system was designed as a way to accelerate insurance payments for accident drivers and limit the burden on the Florida court system. And while PIP and PDL insurance is often called “Full Coverage,” it is really just the bare minimum required by Florida law. In fact, PIP and PDL insurance provides limited coverage which may not fully compensate you for your medical expenses and other associated costs.
If you want to ensure that you and your family are protected in the event of an auto accident, you should consider purchasing additional coverage.
PIP insurance in Florida covers medical expenses, lost wages and death benefits for the person who holds the insurance policy. In some states, PIP insurance also covers other household members, however, PIP insurance coverage for other household members is optional in Florida.
Medical costs that would be covered under a PIP insurance claim include:
While it seems like PIP insurance covers a lot, there are actually several major limitations to benefits drivers actually receive.
In Florida, PIP insurance only covers 80% of medical costs and 60% of your lost wages. For example, if the cost of your medical treatment after an auto accident totals 8,000, PIP insurance only covers $6,400. In addition, PIP insurance will only cover $2,500 worth of medical expenses if the injury is not determined to be an emergency. Furthermore, PIP insurance does not cover certain treatment options, like acupuncture and massages.
In addition to these limitations, drivers must surrender their rights to sue the other driver in order to receive full payment. Drivers can only file a personal injury lawsuit when they sustain a serious or permanent injury. Drivers who want to make sure their medical expenses will be fully covered can purchase a separate insurance policies that fully cover car accident injuries.
In addition to PIP insurance, all Florida drivers must carry property damage liability, or PDL, insurance. Like PIP insurance, the minimum PDL protection is $10,000. PDL insurance covers certain property damage, such as damaged trees, buildings, signs and other objects. This form of insurance also covers damage to other cars if the insured was at fault for the accident. If the other car is totalled, PDL insurance will cover part of the cost of replacement.
There are also major limitations to PDL insurance. For example, PDL insurance does not cover repairs to your car after an accident – it only pays for damage to another person’s car. Additionally, PDL insurance does not cover theft and other types of damage to your car that may occur.
If you only purchase the minimum PIP/PDL insurance required by law, you are considered “fully covered” under the law. In reality, however, you may not have the insurance coverage necessary to cover the cost of catastrophic injury or a totaled car. Without additional insurance coverage, you are exposing yourself and your family to the high cost of medical bills and car repairs. Being fully covered really requires purchasing more comprehensive auto insurance that adequately protects your financial interests.
To protect you, your family and your property from total loss after an auto accident, you should consider purchasing additional auto insurance to cover bodily injury, collision and uninsured motorist claims.
Drivers that want further protection from catastrophic auto accidents can choose to purchase bodily injury liability insurance or BI. Many drivers purchase BI coverage to protect their personal assets in the event that they are responsible for injuring a pedestrian, biker or another driver in an auto accident.
Bodily injury insurance covers, at a minimum, $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. However, recommended BI coverage is substantially higher. In some cases, drivers may purchase BI insurance policies that can exceed $250,000/$500,000.
If you are responsible for causing an accident in Florida that causes injury, any injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit against you to recover compensation for their losses. BI coverage protects your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit, as the insurance company would pay the injured party up to the policy limits. Without BI insurance, the injured party may be able to recover compensation from your personal assets.
Collision insurance is another form of auto insurance that drivers in Florida can elect to purchase. Unlike a state-required PDL insurance policy, collision insurance covers damage to the policy holder’s car in the event of an auto accident.
Generally, collision coverage includes a deductible that the policyholder must pay before insurance will kick in. In the event that another driver is at fault for causing the accident, and that driver has property damage coverage, then collision insurance will not pay for damage to the car.
Many drivers choose to purchase collision coverage, which ensures that their car will be quickly repaired after an auto accident. Drivers who do not carry collision coverage may have to rely on the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover the cost of repairs.
Although insurance is critical to protecting drivers in the event of an accident, 26.7 percent of Florida drivers do not carry insurance. In fact, Florida is one of just 5 states where more than 20 percent of drivers are uninsured.
So what happens if you are injured by a driver who does not carry any form of insurance? You could sue them for your injuries and collect against their personal assets, however, it is unlikely that they will have enough to cover the cost of your property damage and medical bills.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage, or UM, is designed to protect you and other family members who may drive your car in the event they are hit by an uninsured driver. Though UM insurance does not cover property damage to your car, it will help cover the cost of:
In addition to UM coverage, drivers can also purchase underinsured motorist coverage as well. This form of insurance provides additional coverage in the event that you are injured in an accident with a driver that does not have enough insurance to cover your medical expenses.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you deserve to make a full financial recovery for your losses. Fortunately, Florida law requires drivers to carry PIP and PDL insurance. However, the minimum required insurance policy is rarely enough to cover the medical costs of more serious auto accident injuries.
Purchasing additional auto insurance coverage not only protects you from personal liability for any injury or damage that you may cause, but you can also protect yourself from situations involving uninsured and underinsured motorists. Bodily injury insurance, collision insurance, and uninsured motorist coverage are not required, but they do offer a level of protection not afforded by state-mandated insurance policies.
Still, insurance companies (including your own) may try to limit what they owe to you for your losses. They may try to diminish the extent of your losses, delay paying on your claim, or deny your claim altogether. If you have suffered a loss after an auto accident and not sure where to turn, contact a Miami auto accident attorney to schedule a free consultation. Together, you can look at the facts that led to the accident, determine who was at fault and seek out all possible sources of recovery.
To speak with an attorney today, call Miami personal injury attorney Mike Redondo at 305-306-8275.