In Florida, as in most states, all drivers are required to carry auto insurance that at the least provides modest coverage in case they are involved in an accident. However, depending on your assets and the amount you’re willing to pay for coverage, many more extensive options are available, and advisable.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
If you are injured in an auto accident, PIP covers you, up to your limit, according to the following breakdown:
- Medical costs — 80 percent
- Reimbursement of lost wages — 60 percent
- Replacement services, such has for laundry, housekeeping or driver services — 100 percent
- Death benefits — up to $5,000.00
You must carry, at minimum, $10,000 in PIP coverage.
Property Damage Liability (PD)
PD coverage protects you up to your limit in the event that you cause damage to another individual’s property while you are driving. Property covered under PD includes:
- Other vehicles
- Houses or buildings
- Telephone poles
You must carry, at minimum, $10,000 in PD liability coverage
Bodily Injury Liability (BI)
Bodily Injury Liability coverage protects you financially if you cause an accident and are found liable for another individual’s injuries that require medical attention. These injuries may range from minor to serious to fatal. You are not required to carry any BI liability insurance. However, under Florida’s Financial Responsibility law, you as a driver, if you are at fault for the accident, may be found to be responsible for bodily injuries caused to other persons as a result of the accident. So even though it's not required, it is a very good idea to have BI liability coverage.
Other Types of Insurance
The following types of insurance are available but not required:
- Collision — for damage to your vehicle that occurs in an accident
- Comprehensive — for damage from vandalism, acts of nature or other incidents. Comprehensive also covers you if your vehicle is stolen.
- Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) — to cover your costs in the event the person responsible for your accident was carrying the minimum insurance or was driving uninsured
- Towing — to cover the cost of any tows your vehicle requires
- Rental reimbursement — to reimburse you if you need to rent a vehicle while your own is being repaired
In addition to having the required coverage under Florida law, as well as the not-required, but highly recommended BI liability coverage, some of the most important coverage you should seriously consider is the UM/UIM coverage mentioned above. It can be devastating to sustain catastrophic insurance as a result of an accident which is someone else’s fault, but where they have little or no BI liability coverage. Unless the at fault party has substantial wealth, you are then left with no where to turn to obtain damages for your injuries.
Florida auto accident lawyer Steven Combs composed this post with contribution from attorney Shane Hebert.