What kind of car insurance should I carry? Helpful tips for Florida drivers
When looking to purchase car insurance, most buyers donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t consider the event of a potential crash resulting in personal injuryĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthey merely go for the bare minimum amount of coverage that they are required to carry by Florida law. To most effectively insulate yourself from financial hardship such as lost wages and medical bills that could result from an auto accident, however, there are certain facts regarding different kinds auto insurance with which you should be familiar.
The only two types of car insurance that you are required to have under Florida law are Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) Insurance. Also called Florida No Fault Insurance, PIP Insurance covers youĂ˘â‚¬â€ťregardless of fault (i.e. whether or not you cause the crash)Ă˘â‚¬â€ťup to the limits of your policy, covering up to 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages. Your PIP will also cover your child, members of your household, and certain passengers who lack PIP Insurance as long as they do not own a vehicle. People riding in your car who carry PIP will receive coverage under their own PIP Insurance for their injuries, along with certain licensed drivers who drive your vehicle with your permission.
The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires all owners and/or registrants of a motor vehicle with four wheels or more to carry a minimum of $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection Insurance and $10,000 of Property Damage Liability Insurance. Property Damage Liability Insurance pays for damages to other peopleĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s property in a crash involving a motor vehicle that you or an insured has caused (and is liable for).
These two types of insurance are the only ones you are required to carry under Florida lawĂ˘â‚¬â€ťbut what happens when you are involved in an accident in which you are not at fault, and you donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t have health insurance for example? In the aftermath of any serious car accident with serious injury, the mandatory $10,000 worth of PIP insurance is frequently used up entirely at the Hospital Emergency Room. So, you might ask, what happens next? Who pays for your ongoing medical care, or your lost wages?
The answer depends upon the kind of additional insurance coverage that you choose to carry. In order to protect yourself and your family, you should carry Bodily Injury (BI) Insurance, as well as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Insurance Coverage. BI insurance pays for someone elseĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s injuries and damages in the event that you are totally or partially at fault. Your insurer will pay for injuries and damages caused by you or members of your family who live with you, even if they were driving someone elseĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s vehicle. It may also cover others who drive your automobile with your permission. Under BI coverage, your insurance company will pay for injuries and damages up to the limits of your policy and provide legal representation for you if you get sued. It is a requirement to carry BI insurance only if you are going to purchase UM coverage. If you have personal assets at risk, carrying the proper amount of Bodily Injury Insurance may help protect your personal assets. The more assets you have to lose if you were to get sued, the greater your insurance coverage limits should be.
Most importantly, you should purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM Insurance). UM Insurance pays for you and your familyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s injuries and damages in the even of an accident when you are not at fault. Why is this significant? LetĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s say the person at fault in the accident carries only the minimum amount of insurance required under Florida lawĂ˘â‚¬â€ťPIP and PDL. If he cost of care for your injuries exceeds the $10,000 you carry in PIP Insurance, then you will be stuck with the rest of the bills, with no way to obtain compensation for lost wages if you donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t have UM Insurance. If in this hypothetical situation the other party who was at fault had BI Coverage, then their BI Insurance would pay for your damagesĂ˘â‚¬â€ťand if there is not enough BI to cover your loss, then your own UM Insurance would pay the rest, up to your policy limits. So, UM pays for motorists who have no BI coverage or too little BI coverage.
Medical payments coverage (Medpay) is another type of insurance that applies for accident cases. This kind of coverage can be useful when facing a short-term need for medical care that isnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t covered by PIP or health insurance. Medpay can be purchased in varying increments from $5,000 and up. The term Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“medical payments coverageĂ˘â‚¬Âť is self-explanatoryĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthis type of coverage pays for up to 100% of the bill for medical payments so long as they are reasonably related to the accident. It also fills the gap with PIP insurance. While PIP pays for 80% of medical bills, Medpay would pay the remaining 20%.
At the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, our attorneys have many years of experience in helping those who have been in automobile accidents, bike accidents, tire failure crashes, truck crashes and many other types of incidents, get recovery for their injuries, medical bills and lost wages. Our office can help you to ensure that you are properly reimbursed for the expenses that you have incurred as well. DonĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t feel bad if you are confusedĂ˘â‚¬â€ťin fact, many lawyers who do not handle this area of the law find these insurance coverages hard to follow.
If you or your relative was seriously injured or died as the result of someone elseĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s negligence, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com
BY: Monica Perez-McMillen, Attorney at Law
June 4, 2012