Good morning. This is Marcus again here at Michles & Booth with this week’s installment of our video blog, which can be found at michlesbooth.com.
Today I want to talk about something that’s just terribly misunderstood in Florida, and that’s the standard requirement for car insurance in what is known as “Full Coverage”.
So let’s assume you’re a law-abiding Florida citizen. I know it might be a reach for some of us, but you’re a law-abiding citizen, and you want to comply with all the rules and regulations that apply to purchasing automobile insurance.
The likelihood is that you called an agent or you’ve gone online or you’ve gotten on the phone here talking to an insurance representative and they’re pulling up Florida, and they say “this is full coverage” and you check the rate and maybe you compare and you do what every consumer does…you buy the cheapest one.
That version of full coverage, though, is established by Florida law, and Florida law requires that you carry a certain minimum coverage. So the reality is that “full coverage” isn’t really FULL coverage. “Full coverage” is what the law requires, so you’re fully compliant with the law, but in reality, the law requires you to have the very minimum threshold coverage.
So instead of calling it “full coverage”, we might be better off calling it minimum coverage. Now let’s use some examples.
Let’s say, and I hope this never happens to you, but let’s say you cause an accident. Let’s say you just run a stop sign, and let’s keep it relatively simple. The person in the other car has got a whiplash injury and goes to the emergency room to get checked out. Nobody’s critically injured. Nobody’s severely injured, but you caused an accident. Now if you’ve got “full coverage”, you don’t have any coverage to cover the other individual that you hurt or to cover their medical bills. Your full coverage covers YOU, and it covers the other person’s car.
You have PIP, a ten thousand dollar fund, to get checked out if you go to the hospital. That’s good.
You bought PIP. You’ve got “full coverage”, which covers you up to ten thousand dollars and covers the other person’s car, but what if you really hurt somebody? And what if they come after you?
You don’t have the kind of insurance, if you only have full coverage, that covers you from being sued for the other person’s injuries. You have full coverage but “full coverage” doesn’t include bodily injury insurance, and bodily injury insurance is the kind of insurance that’s available to protect you if you hurt somebody else.
Let’s change the scenario. Let’s say somebody else runs a red light and hits you, and you’re hurt, and you get in an ambulance and go to the hospital. Well, you’ve got “full coverage” which means you got that ten thousand dollars in PIP, but what if they run some MRI’s and run some tests and you quickly run out of that ten thousand dollar fund?
Well, if you don’t have health insurance, and you only have full coverage, you need the other person that caused the accident to have the kind of insurance that covers you. You need them to have bodily injury insurance on THEIR policy, but what if they only have full coverage?
Well, they don’t have bodily injury coverage. Then there’s an optional coverage that you might have, if you paid extra for it, and that’s called underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, also known as UM.
I know it’s confusing. You might have to rewind to play this again, but you, if you have “full coverage”, you don’t have bodily injury, and you don’t have UM, which means if you’re hurt and the other guy doesn’t have bodily injury, (which is an option remember)… if they have full coverage, they don’t have it, and if they don’t have it, YOU need to have an optional coverage known as UM.
Now let’s go back to where we started.
You wake up one day and you stretch and say “today I’ve got to renew my insurance” and you call an insurance person or you go online, and they say, “You need full coverage”. As soon as they say “full coverage”, your brain is going to say, “Whoa, wait a minute. Full coverage means minimum coverage. I need something to protect me in the event that I get hurt by somebody else’s negligence and if that somebody else only has full coverage” (which is about 70 percent of all the drivers out there on the street).
So, let me tell you the moral of the story. Okay?
I meet people every day that have been in car accidents and that have been hurt. They had no idea what their insurance really was. All they knew was they had “full coverage”. They knew they were compliant with the law. They didn’t realize that it’s those extra coverages that make all the difference in the world if you get hurt, or if heaven forbid, you hurt somebody else.
So today’s lesson is “full coverage” isn’t full coverage. “Full coverage” is MINIMUM coverage.
If you’ve got questions, we’ll review your policy for you. We’ll answer your questions at no charge. That takes five seconds. We can explain it to you. Give us a call.
I’m Marcus Michles. Thanks for tuning in this week. We’ll see you next week on the blog.