What Does My Insurance Cover?
In Florida, all drivers are required to maintain a basic level of automobile insurance. Some drivers mistakenly assume that meeting this legal requirement means they have full coverage. Unfortunately, it is only after an accident that most drivers learn that meeting the Florida legal requirement does not mean having total coverage for all accident-related costs. Even policies labeled “full coverage” are often deceptive, and no plan truly covers every unforeseen event.
The Basics of Automobile Insurance in Florida
Automobile insurance coverage in Florida falls into the following different categories:
- Collision Damages: Many drivers who refer to having “full coverage” are referring to the amount of collision damage coverage. This coverage generally applies to physical damage to the insured’s own vehicle. True full collision coverage would include replacement if your vehicle is totaled.
- Property Damage Liability: Property damage liability pays for the damage you cause to other people’s property. In Florida, the law requires only $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. This amount is often insufficient to cover the full damage of the other driver’s vehicle. Property damage coverage does not extend to the driver’s own vehicle or property.
- Comprehensive Coverage: True “full coverage” would also include things like a collision with an animal, damage from a hailstorm, or even damage from a stray shopping cart. These items are often excluded in collision coverage. Coverage for items such as these are commonly referred to as comprehensive coverage.
- Personal Injury Protection: Florida is one of only twelve states that operate under a no-fault system. This means that when it comes to the initial medical expenses, lost earnings and/or funeral expenses, the policyholder’s insurance will apply regardless of fault. Personal Injury Protection, commonly referred to as PIP, covers the driver, members of their household, and certain other uninsured passengers. In Florida, drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection. Purchasing extended personal injury protection can cover higher amounts of damage.
- Bodily Injury: Bodily injury liability pays up to the policy limits for injuries or death that the policyholder or other covered drivers negligently cause in an accident. Policy limits are per person and per accident as written in your policy. Bodily injury liability does not cover your injuries, only the injuries of others that you are liable for. If the at-fault driver does not carry bodily injury liability insurance or carries only limited bodily injury liability, the injured victim can pursue the claim on their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if they elected to buy it as a part of their policy.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage protects you in the event that you are involved in an accident with someone who either doesn’t have auto insurance or doesn’t have high enough limits to cover the cost of the accident. In some states, if you have more than one vehicle on your policy, you can elect to “stack” the coverage. This means your policy limit is multiplied by the number of vehicles covered on your policy.
- Additional Coverage: Some policies also cover incidental costs such as a rental car. You should carefully review your plan to see what it covers and whether your insurer has preferred providers. Most insurance policies also include a deductible. This is the amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance will begin to pay. Generally, the higher the deductible amount, the lower the premium. If you are in an accident, it is important to review your coverage.
Florida Personal Injury Attorney Working in Your Bests Interest
At The Pittman Firm, P.A., Attorney Wes Pittman understands that insurance law is complex and confusing. Most insurance consumers are never forced to deal with the intricacies of insurance until they actually need it — after an accident. Remember, the insurance company is looking to settle your case for the minimum amount possible, and its insurance adjuster is working for it, not you. Turn to The Pittman Firm, P.A., to get an experienced attorney on your side. Our firm is dedicated to getting you the maximum recovery possible after a car accident.
Take the first step towards recovery by contacting The Pittman Firm, P.A. today.