You don’t need me to tell you that car accidents are stressful. Pain, inconvenience, and uncertainty are things we all easily understand. You purchased car insurance in order to help deal with the pain, inconvenience and uncertainty that surrounds a car accident—but car insurance policies are difficult to understand.
The information below describes the common types of coverage which may be available to help you put your life back together. Keep in mind that every insurance policy is different and the coverage available to you will depend on the terms of your insurance contract.
Mandatory insurance coverage in Florida
Personal Injury Protection
This coverage, often referred to as PIP or ‘no-fault’ coverage, covers up to $10,000 of medical bills and/or lost wages for you and other passengers in your vehicle. However, the coverage only pays 80% of the medical bills and 60% of lost wages, and you must see a medical provider within fourteen days of the crash.
PIP is available to pay medical and lost wage expenses regardless of whether you caused an accident or were the victim of another person’s negligence, and all bills initially go through your PIP coverage rather than the other party’s insurance. Some insurance companies attempt to use recent changes in the PIP law to cap your PIP benefits at $2,500, but an attorney can assist in helping you access the remaining benefits.
Property Damage insurance covers the damage you cause to another vehicle through your negligence. This coverage actually applies to the OTHER driver’s vehicle and not yours.
Often times these two mandatory coverages, PIP and property damage, are sold by the insurance company as “full coverage”. “Full coverage” truly means “minimum coverage,” or the bare minimum of what is legally required to drive in Florida, and does not include the very important Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist coverages below. Don’t fall for the “full coverage” trick!
Bodily injury covers injuries you cause to other drivers, and will cover the costs of your legal defense if you are sued. If you are an accident victim, the other driver’s bodily injury coverage is your source of recovery for your injuries after using all of your PIP benefits. This is an essential type of coverage for you to carry.
This is the most important coverage you can buy. Uninsured motorist (UM) covers your injuries if you are hurt by a driver who was uninsured, such as one driving with expired insurance, or driving with a “full coverage” policy that does not have Bodily Injury. It also applies if you are injured by a driver that is underinsured and does not have enough Bodily Injury coverage to fully compensate for your injuries.
Medical Payments covers additional medical expenses above and beyond PIP. This optional coverage can be used to pay for the 20% of medical expenses and 40% of wage loss benefits that PIP does not cover, and typically pays 100% of the medical bills up to coverage limit. Collision- Compensates for vehicle damage regardless of who was at fault and usually applies even in the case of single-car accidents.
Comprehensive covers damages to your vehicle caused by other sources, such as falling objects, vandalism, or collisions with wildlife. This type of coverage will vary depending upon the insurance carrier and their contract.
Understanding your insurance policy is important.
The amounts of each type of coverage are listed in the policy and set the maximum amount of benefits available. The terms of the insurance policy determine what coverages are available to you and under what exact circumstances the coverage will apply.
The insurance company will not necessarily tell you of all the benefits that may be available to you. Do not be a victim of the insurance companies: call our experienced team of car accident attorneys at Michles & Booth for a free review of your insurance policy. Our expert advice will put your mind at ease and ensure that you are aware of 100% of the benefits available to you.