Florida’s No-Fault Law requires every person who registers a vehicle in Florida to provide proof of coverage in the form of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PD). Minimum limits of $10,000 for each vehicle must be carried for both PIP and PD coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits will be your primary source of insurance if you are injured in an automobile accident regardless of who caused the accident. PIP pays medical bills related to injuries received in an accident at 80% of the legal rate, leaving a 20% co-pay. Policyholders must receive medically necessary treatment within 14 days of the accident. Qualifying expenses are surgeries, x-rays, rehab services, ambulance rides and prosthetic devices, among others. PIP benefits can also be used to reimburse you for lost wages resulting from the accident at a rate of 60%. Additionally, PIP will pay up to $5,000 in death benefits if the policyholder dies in a covered car accident.
Property Damage Liability (PD)
Property Damage Liability (PD) coverage in a minimum amount of $10,000 is also required pursuant to Florida’s No-Fault Law. If you are found to be at-fault for an accident, your PD coverage will pay for any damage to other vehicles involved in the collision. PD coverage may also be used to pay for any damage you caused to other property, such as street signs or buildings.
Owners and operators of motor vehicles in Florida may also elect to purchase other types of automobile insurance coverages in addition to the mandatory coverages outlined above. Elective coverages better protect you and your personal assets in the event you are involved in an accident and, in particular, if you are at-fault for the collision. Elective coverages include Bodily Injury Liability coverage, Comprehensive/Collision, and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability (BI)
Bodily Injury Liability (BI) coverage can protect you from personal liability for injuries or death you cause to others as a result of a collision for which you are deemed at-fault. BI coverage is available in a range of amounts starting at $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident. The more BI coverage you purchase, the better your personal assets are protected in the event you are at-fault for a motor vehicle accident.
Comprehensive/Collision coverage is meant to pay for repairs to your own vehicle when it is damaged in an accident. There is often a deductible associated with this type of insurance coverage. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium charged for Comprehensive/Collision coverage. However, keep in mind that you are responsible for paying the deductible if your vehicle is damaged in a collision, and the Comprehensive/Collision coverage will come into play to cover any repair expense that exceeds the deductible.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)
The third and arguably most important elective coverage is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Purchasing UM/UIM coverage is a key way to protect yourself in the event you are injured in an accident for which the at-fault party has little or no BI coverage himself to compensate you for such injuries. Many owners and operators of motor vehicles in the State of Florida carry only the minimum coverages mandated by Florida’s No-Fault Law. These individuals do not or, in some cases, cannot choose insurance coverage with the intent to protect people they might injure in an accident. Therefore, it is wise to protect yourself by purchasing UM/UIM as part of your own automobile insurance coverage. Then, if you are injured in a collision caused by a person who has little or no BI coverage to pay for your injuries, your UM/UIM coverage can be tapped to help cover such expenses. UM/UIM coverage is usually purchased in the same amount as the BI coverage you purchase.
This article is not meant to be an exhaustive review of Florida’s No-Fault Law or the types of elective coverages available to owners and operators of motor vehicles in Florida. You are encouraged to discuss the mandatory minimum coverages applicable to you, along with available elective coverages, with your insurance agent in order to develop a plan you can afford that best protects you and your assets while also protecting you against uninsured/underinsured motorists. The Florida Department of Financial Services Automobile Toolkit provides a more in-depth review of automobile insurance coverage in Florida. Should you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle collision for which you are not at-fault, please contact us to determine how Avard Law Offices can be of assistance to you.