Florida is the eighth most expensive state for automobile insurance. It is no wonder, as Florida is the third-busiest state in the country. This means more drivers on the road and more potential accidents. From distracted drivers to tourists unfamiliar with the area, crashes happen frequently. Although Florida requires some minimum insurance coverages, it is often not enough to cover all your damages in the event of a major accident with injuries. Here are our recommendations for adequate automobile insurance coverage in Florida.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
What: Ensures you are covered for some medical expenses after a crash, regardless of who caused the crash. This insurance is referred to as “no-fault insurance.” Every motorist in Florida is required to have this type of insurance.
Recommendation: $10,000 (required by Florida law)
Why: It pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages after an accident. This minimum is quickly taken up with ER visits and physician fees. Coverage might be limited to $2,500 if the injury is not considered an “emergency medical condition.” But rest assured this does NOT mean you have to go to the emergency department after a car accident. Call Mark for more details.
Property Damage Liability (PD)
What: Covers your liability for the damage you cause to another person’s property. This does not cover damage to your car. See Collision recommendations below.
Recommendation: $50,000 minimum ($10,000 required by Florida law).
Why: Damages to another person’s car and damage to property like fences and guardrails can quickly add up beyond Florida’s minimally required insurance.
Bodily Injury Liability (BI)
What: This coverage protects YOUR assets if you cause a crash and another person files a lawsuit against you. If you have sizable assets, you should have more coverage.
Recommendation: $100,000 per person/$300,000 per incident, minimum.
Why: If you caused the accident, the other motorist is likely to file a claim to seek their damages against you. Nearly 25% of the drivers on Florida’s roadways only carry the mandatory minimum coverage of property damage and personal injury protection. Depending on their injuries, the other driver may file a lawsuit against you to recover their damages not covered by their PIP. This is NOPT insurance to cover YOUR injuries. See Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage below.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM)
What: Covers you, your family, and (sometimes) your passengers when you’re involved in an accident with someone whose carried the state mandatory minimal coverage of PD and PIP; and did not carry Bodily Injury coverage insurance.
Recommendation: $100,00 per person/$300,000 per incident, minimum. This amount can be equal to or less than your BI limits, but can never be more than your own BI limits.
Why: According to the most recent data being reported, Florida was ranked sixth in the country for uninsured drivers. This means nearly one 1 out of every 5 drivers, or over 3 million drivers in Florida, did not carry ANY car insurance. Of the remaining drivers on Florida’s roadway, nearly another 25% carry the state mandatory minimum of PIP and PD. Thus, about half the drivers in Florida do not carry the kind of insurance that will compensate you for your injuries if they crash into YOU. If you do not have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, you will be left with outstanding medical bills, lost wages, loss of future wages, and the inability to recover for future medical bills, and no one or no insurance company to pay you for your losses. Remember though, to get uninsured motorist coverage, you must purchase bodily injury insurance and your UM limits should be the same as your BI limits.
What: Covers damage to your car caused by a collision if you are the at-fault driver.
Recommendation: $25,000/$50,000 minimum coverage (depending on age and car value).
Why: Remember Property Damage (PD) covers the damage you cause to another’s property, if you are at fault and caused a car crash, and do not carry Collision coverage, you will have to pay the costs to repair your car out of your own pocket.
Other Coverage Recommendations
What: Covers payments to your bank if your car is totaled and you owe more than its current value.
Recommendation: Depends on your car’s fair market value (FMV) and the down payment you made when you purchased the vehicle.
Why: You are still responsible for repaying a car loan, even if the car is a total loss. If the car’s FMV is less than what you owe, your insurance payout may not cover everything you need to repay the loan. Then, you may be stuck making payments on a car that no longer exists.
What: Covers your car for damages unrelated to an accident, such as weather-related events or falling debris.
Recommendation: $25,000/$50,000 minimum coverage (depending on car age and value).
Why: From hailstorms to stones hitting the side of your car because of road construction, there are many ways your car may be damaged without a crash. Homeowner’s policies or business insurance may not cover these types of damages.
Medical Payment Coverage (MedPay)
What: This coverage pays the other 20% of the medical bills not covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
Recommendation: If you carry this, it is usually in the amount of $5,000.00, BUT see below.
Why: This is usually the last piece of having a full set of car insurance coverages availability from most car insurance companies. In recent years we used to recommend carrying MedPay coverage; however, you MUST be aware if your car insurance company pays money out to you medical providers, under the MedPay portion of your policy, and you are able to recover money from the other driver’s carrier, YOUR insurance company will have the right to deduct the amount they paid for MedPay from YOUR settlement. This is called a Right of Subrogation. See our article on Subrogation coming out soon. In many cases, you may be better without MedPay. Call Mark and ask him why and he can explain in simple terms.
Cressman Law: Your Go-To Orange County Car Accident Attorney
In reality to have what some people call “full coverage” you MUST carry each of the coverage outlined above. Many times, clients tell us they have “full coverage” when all they have is PIP and PD, which is the state minimum coverage, BUT will not protect you and your family if you are involved in crash, whether you are at fault or not. Whether you have damages beyond what your policy pays or believe your insurance is not handling your claim correctly, it is important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer like Mark P. Cressman to discuss your case. Call us at 407 871-3372 for a free consultation. Mark is available 24 hours a day, even on weekends and holidays.