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"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
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Florida Auto Insurance Policies: Minimum Requirements and Additional Coverage

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Personal Injury

The lawful operation of a motor vehicle requires insurance coverage meeting at least minimum requirements under Florida law, which requires no less than $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 for property damage (PD). However, the insured may also elect to purchase additional coverage, beyond what is minimally required under Florida law, such as bodily injury (BI), uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), comprehensive, collision, towing, rental reimbursement, medical payments, and accidental death or dismemberment.

In some cases, where the driver has had previous car accidents or violations, or where the vehicle is financed,  additional coverage may be required. Your policy rate is highly dependent on  the particular coverage you select, your driving history, as well as the deductible amount selected for particular benefits.

The concept of PIP coverage, as opposed to BI coverage, is commonly confused by accident victims. For many, the distinction between PIP and BI may even cause confusion during the insurance selection process. PIP, also referred to as no-fault coverage, is mandatory coverage which covers a percentage of the insured’s medical treatment and lost wages incurred as a result of an accident.

PIP coverage is available to a person injured by an auto collision whether they are a policy holder, passenger without their own PIP, a dependent resident relative covered under another’s auto policy, persons who drive your vehicle with your permission, and bicyclists and pedestrians when contacted by a motor vehicle. For more information on this topic, see ‘Who is Covered by PIP?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides coverage, regardless of who is at fault. PIP coverage pays for 80% of reasonably necessary medical treatment, 60% of lost wages, as well as other reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation and replacement services. An insured’s deductible may still apply. Medical payments coverage can also be obtained to cover the 20% of medical expenses not covered under PIP.

Bodily Injury, on the other hand, is coverage to provide compensation for serious or permanent injury or death caused to others as a result of an accident. This coverage is not required under Florida law, however some high-risk drivers, such as those convicted of a DUI, are required to carry such BI.

Bodily injury coverage provides policy limits both per person, and per accident. Therefore, under minimum requirements, a $10,000 BI policy would cover $10,000 per person, OR, $20,000 per accident. Purchasing increased bodily injury coverage, however, will not provide compensation for your own injuries, but rather is intended as protection against liability in the event of injury caused to another.

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Determining whether to include UIM coverage in an auto insurance policy, as well as whether to stack such coverage, are common considerations when selecting an auto policy or assessing available coverage following an accident. In Florida, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is typically contained within a single coverage provision within the auto policy.  While it is not required, and is generally associated with a higher premium, such coverage can offer several benefits to motorist.

Consider being the victim to an accident where your damages exceed coverage limits available under the negligent party’s policy, or the negligent party fails to carry any insurance, however you have elected to include UIM motorist coverage in your own policy. In this case, claims for remaining or uncompensated damages may then be directed at your own policy.

Having represented car accident victims for more than three decades, we are often presented with the question—how much insurance is enough insurance? For the vast majority of individuals, this question can be answered in two parts. First, you need a policy that meets at least minimum coverage requirements in accordance with the state in which the policy is issued. Second, you should purchase as much additional coverage as you can reasonably afford.

What many individuals are unaware of, is that, often, increased or additional coverage may have a nominal impact on the policy rate. In some cases, such as where a policy holder has continuously maintained coverage exceeding minimum requirements, the insured may be surprised to find the availability of a rate reduction. Prior to immediately deferring to minimum coverage requirements, it is important to consider all available options. By doing so, you can ensure that you have the protection you may need in the event you are involved in collision with another motor vehicle.