Insurance, some would argue, is a necessary evil. To pay significant amounts of money each month for a service you may not need can be aggravating. This is especially true in the case of car insurance. Every month that your car goes unscathed is another month that you spent money you may not see again.
Car insurance does, however, provide a cushion of security when you do need it. You never know when someone will suddenly sideswipe your car during the Christmas Eve rush. Fortunately, if that happens, you can relax and go through the paperwork process, knowing your insurance company will take care of it.
What happens, then, if you know you won’t be using your car? You are still licensed to drive, and perhaps you’re using your spouse’s vehicle when you need to. Should you keep paying insurance on the car that just sits in the driveway? The short answer is, if the car is tagged, yes.
Let’s consider a possibility. Your car is on the older side, and it’s mechanically unsound. Knowing that it will take some time to get it fixed, you allow it to sit in the driveway. Eventually, you will get the car repaired so you don’t renew your insurance policy on the car because no one will be using it.
A few weeks later, you’re in a friend’s car, driving to the movies. Without warning, another car hops the median, slamming into your side of the car. You require medical attention. Per Florida PIP law, regardless of fault, you are required to use your own PIP coverage to cover 80% of the first $10K of your medical treatment. If you have health insurance, it generally would cover the remaining 20% of your hospital costs. But what happens when I’ve allowed my policy to lapse but still have a tagged vehicle?
Personal injury protection, PIP, is designed to help cover medical costs in a car accident injury. Plans vary from state to state and from insurer to insurer. Even within your car insurance company, there are different levels of PIP to which you can subscribe. In our scenario, you don’t have car insurance. Without your own PIP, who pays?
When you have no car insurance, but you are living with a family member, you can file a claim under the family members insurance policy, unless you are specifically excluded. The relative will have to initiate the process.
If you have no car insurance, and you live alone, you can file a PIP claim from the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, if you’re the one at fault, you may be responsible for not only your medical bills, but the other driver might pursue a claim against you personally for repair costs.
Owning an uninsured, non-operating vehicle is legal. Problems arise when the car is tagged and registered. At that point, whether you use it or not, you need to carry insurance on it. If you have a tagged vehicle, you are expected to use your own PIP insurance to cover medical costs in the event of an accident.
Even after health insurance pays its portion, your medical bills can be astronomically high. A PIP plan can cover amounts as high as $25,000. Check with your agent for your options. Healthcare costs in this country are costly. Regardless of fault, each driver or their passengers can collect PIP for their injuries.
The bottom line is this: If you have a tagged, registered car, you should keep its insurance up to date. It doesn’t matter if you use it or not. Being the owner of a tagged, uninsured car can leave you in a bad situation.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact us today. Even if you’re uninsured, we may be able to recover damages for you. Our number is (850) 764-0383, and you can reach us online. Consultations are free.