Florida Car Insurance Basics
Car Insurance can be a confusing topic. Most of us pay our bill and keep a copy in our vehicle, but rarely take the time to understand the terminology contained within our policies. A report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles titled “Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report 2013” highlights that in 2012 and 2013, over 170,000 injury crashes occurred, and over 323,000 wrecks took place that led to property damage only. Based on those statistics, car accidents are a fairly common occurrence in Florida; therefore, having the right insurance policy in place can make all the difference in recovering compensation for injuries sustained to you and your property, in case of a car accident.
Florida Auto Insurance
The state of Florida has basic requirements for car insurance. If you have a valid Florida license plate, the minimum amount of insurance required in Florida is $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is also known as no-fault insurance; this means you are covered up to the limit of your policy, regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the crash. PIP is designed to cover medical and related bills, reducing the need for litigation. In addition, PIP covers your children and members of your home. PIP coverage also extends to you in the event you are in a crash in someone else’s vehicle, you are a pedestrian, or if you were bicycling and become injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. If you are involved in an accident outside of Florida, yet still in the U.S., PIP covers you and your relatives living at home, but you must be driving your own vehicle – others involved in the accident, who are not relatives, are not covered by PIP. Finally, PIP coverage extends to these situations involving an act of violence while driving, including a carjacking or road rage.
Property damage liability coverage extends to damages you or your family cause to another person’s property in a crash involving a motor vehicle. This can include a building, a car, or a fence.
Generally, bodily injury liability coverage is not required in Florida. This type of coverage is designed for accidents where serious injury, permanent injury, or death to another results from a crash you caused with your vehicle. In this case, your insurer will pay for injuries up to the limit of the policy, and will also provide legal representation should you be sued.
In addition to the required types of coverage, optional coverage may be purchased including collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, and uninsured motorist insurance. Collision covers repairs to your car if it collides with another vehicle, hits an object, or flips. It does not matter who is at fault, but it does not cover injuries to people or damage to property of others. Comprehensive insurance covers losses other than collisions with cars, including hitting a deer, fire, or theft. Finally, uninsured motorist coverage extends to situations where you are hit by someone who is at-fault and underinsured or lacks insurance and therefore cannot pay for all of the damages sustained by you. It pays for lost wages, medical expenses, bodily injury, and more.
There is Always More to Learn…
While the information above is certainly helpful at explaining insurance policy coverage, it is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how insurance works in a car accident. Make sure to discuss your policy in detail with your insurance agent. And remember, guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney is always important to help you navigate the waters of car insurance, car accidents, and the law. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact Boone & Davis to discuss your case, insurance coverage, and potential compensation.