If your insurance company sold you the promise of full coverage for your vehicle, and you bought it, we hope you're sitting down for the rest of this. The truth is, most Florida drivers do not have anything close to full coverage on their vehicles. Sadly, our offices find that more and more clients who come in with injuries are under the impression that they were fully covered.
Florida law requires all drivers to carry the minimum $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) to cover injuries to yourself, your passengers and other authorized drivers, and property damage liability (PD) to cover the cost of damages to the other party's car or property. That's enough to drive legally in the state. After that, the amount of additional coverage (collision, bodily injury, comprehensive, etc.) depends on “what-if” scenario building and your budget. Having the bare minimum or neglecting certain coverage options, like uninsured motorist (UM) protection, could mean that an accident where you sustain injuries would likely leave you without financial recourse.
Florida No-Fault Minimum Requirements
At the very minimum, there are two types of insurance coverage required for all Florida-based insurance carriers to provide drivers: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PD).
Personal Injury Protection
As a no fault state, Florida drivers do not have to wait for fault to be assigned in order to seek medical treatment for their injuries. Your insurance carrier will pay for medical costs up to $10,000 regardless of who caused the accident. In addition to covering your medical costs, PIP also covers lost wages and funeral expenses in the event of death.
Were you a passenger in the car, or an unfortunate pedestrian who happened to get hurt from the accident? The driver's PIP can be applied to you, too.
Property Damage Liability
The second required coverage in Florida is PD. Drivers are required to have $10,000 in coverage at the minimum in case of damages to the other party's car. Collateral property damages, like to a fence, street lamp, building or home are also included.
Optional Coverage Additions
With more than 14 million licensed drivers in Florida, SKG recommends considering the cost of protecting yourself instead of the cost of the policy itself when shopping for insurance. It's a small price to pay in comparison to potentially large medical bills and other costs.
Bodily Injury Liability
If you are found to have caused an accident, Bodily Injury Liability (BI) helps pay for victims' injuries up to the policy limits of your coverage. This is especially important if a victim suffers severe injuries beyond what their PIP covers. Additionally, if the victim does want to sue you for their injuries and medical bills, BIL will help cover the cost of a lawyer.
Uninsured (UM) is a coverage option that protects you in the event you are in an accident with a driver who isn't insured or who does not possess enough liability coverage. This is especially important in Florida considering the amount of tourists and seasonal residents who have different state-regulated insurance policies.
Collision coverage pays for accident-related damages to your car, including replacing your car if it is a total loss.
Comprehensive coverage is a good option for the driver who wants to cover their “what-if” bases. With comprehensive coverage, you're covered in the event your car is damaged in an event other than from a collision, your car is stolen, vandalized or is damaged by acts of nature (flooding, fallen tree branches, animals, etc.).
What You Choose Is Up To You
Driving is a responsibility that goes way beyond lane changes and observing speed limits. It means protecting yourself and protecting others who share the road with you. If you have been in an accident and need assistance with your claim, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Schiller, Kessler & Gomez, PLC for a free, no-obligation consultation.