Car insurance isn’t something most people will give any regular thought, but when disaster strikes and an accident occurs, it sure comes in very handy.
To avoid accidents where one or both parties involved are unable to cover damages, US states have laws requiring vehicles with four or more wheels to be insured. Florida has its own unique set of requirements, and luckily for motorists, The Sunshine State offers requirements that make car insurance financially accessible – enabling many residents to own a set of wheels.
What Cover Do Florida Motorists Need?
There are different kinds of insurance coverage plans to cover different areas of damages in the case of a car accident, natural disaster or any other unfortunate event involving a motor vehicle.
Property Damage Liability (PDL)
Property damage liability ensures that motorists are able to take accountability for any damages they cause to another person’s property while driving. Property damage liability coverage will ensure that damage you, a family member or other insured person causes to someone else’s car or property while behind the wheel will get paid out according to your policy.
Whether you drove into someone else’s car accidentally, or your managed to drive into the fencing of their property, your PDL coverage will take care of the financial liability of the accident. It doesn’t matter whether the property you damaged was the other party’s vehicle, bicycle or a structure like a building, your PDL coverage will pay towards the damages.
However, while the damages caused to someone else’s property in the event of an accident will be covered by PDL, the damage to your own property or car, won’t be.
In Florida, motorists are required to have a minimum PDL coverage of $10,000 to cover damage liability. Florida state does not require motorists to have coverage for their own damages in an event where they caused an accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Should a car accident occur, personal injury protection covers you, your family and anyone else traveling with you in the car. Passengers traveling in your car don’t need to have a registered vehicle or PIP insurance of their own to be covered.
PIP coverage is intended to take care of medical bills in cases where an motor accident leads to injury. Seeing as Florida has a no-fault policy regarding personal injuries caused by car accidents, insurers are obligated to pay out for injuries related to car accidents to the full limit of your policy.
PIP insurance can also be used to cover expenses for injuries that are related to car accidents which don’t involve your vehicle such as:
- Injuries where you or a family got injured as a pedestrian
- Injuries where you or a family member got injured while cycling
- Injuries while traveling in a vehicle other than your own
- Injuries while traveling on a school bus or public transport
The state of Florida requires that all motorists have a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage. Keeping your PIP insurance up to date is important to ensure that your car will remain roadworthy, and letting this insurance expire can cause cumbersome and inconvenient administrative issues regarding your vehicle registration.
Other forms of Insurance Cover
Beyond $10,000 PDL and PIP coverage, Florida doesn’t necessitate motorists to take out extra insurance coverage. However, just because Florida has relaxed laws regarding car insurance, doesn’t mean other forms of insurance coverage aren’t good to have.
Some policies that aren’t legally required by the state of Florida for car insurance, could make a huge difference if you’re ever involved in an accident.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
While PIP insurance covers you and your family members in the event of injury from an accident, BIL helps to cover severe injuries of other persons if you cause an accident. This will cover for medical expenses and funerals to the limit of your policy.
BIL coverage will also handle legal expenses related to injuries other persons sustained in an accident. In some cases, crash victims might sue for injury or death related to an accident. Regardless of whether you or someone else was driving your car at the time of the accident, your BIL policy will cover the fees for your legal representation.
In some cases BIL coverage can be necessary according to state law, such as when a driver has recently committed a DUI offense.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Collision coverage is intended to help you pay for any damages to your own vehicle in the event of an accident. If your car is a write-off, collision damage should also pay out for replacement of your vehicle.
Comprehensive insurance goes beyond paying out for accident damage to your vehicle. With comprehensive insurance, you’ll also be covered for loss as a result of vehicle theft, hail damage and other unpredictable events.
If you have both collision and comprehensive insurance cover, the only two things that won’t be covered by your policy will be damage from suspected vandalism or flooding.
This coverage is specifically meant to help you make ends meet with your insurance policy. If you’re involved in an accident where you aren’t at faulty, but the other motorist doesn’t have sufficient insurance to pay for your damages, underinsured coverage will help you pay for damages to your vehicle, medical bills and more.
This is useful, seeing as the legally required $10,000often isn’t enough to cover for all the damages you might incur in an accident.
How Much Car Insurance Is Enough?
While Florida doesn’t have very high requirement for motorists regarding their car insurance, taking out some extra insurance would be a wise thing to do.
Without BIL insurance, for instance, you can be held liable for any expenses related to injury or death in an accident involving your vehicle. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and one of the accident victims die, the loved ones of the victim can hold you accountable for medical bills and compensation for the accident, even if it’s still unclear whether you were at fault, as it will be your word against whatever evidence is gathered from the accident scene.
Without collision and comprehensive coverage, you’ll be stuck without transport if your car gets stolen, if you sustain serios hail damage or if you cause an accident and your car is a write-off.
It’s also a good idea to take out policies that are higher than the minimum $10,000 for PIP and PDL, as $10,000 is unlikely to be enough in the case of a serious accident. If your cause an accident and the resulting damages to the other party is $40,000, you can still be held liable for the full amount, even if you’re only insured for $10,000. What this will mean is that your insurance will pay out $10,000 and the remaining $30,000, will have to be paid from your own pocket.
For PIP coverage, the $10,000 legally required by the state also isn’t much when you need to cover medical bills and lost wages due to hospitalization after a serious accident.
Of course, the amount of insurance you take out will depend on what you can afford, but it’s important to know about what kinds of insurance coverage you need for different situations.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming Florida’s minimal car insurance requirements will be enough to cover the damages for any accident. While the minimum requirements are enough to cover small accidents, where damages are limited to minor dents and injuries, large accidents can cost a lot of money in medical bills, lost wages and car damage.
The minimum insurance requirements also won’t cover any damages to your vehicle, or unfortunate events such as losing your car through theft.
When you know what you are and aren’t covered for, you’ll have a better idea of what’s required of you in the case of an accident. You’ll know whether your insurance will cover all your medical expenses, or if your policy is limited, for instance.
At PINI Insurance, we help you pick an auto insurance policy that suits both your pocket and your needs. Talk to us today to learn more about how you can improve your car insurance policy for the best coverage.