Florida law requires drivers in the state to have a minimum level of automobile insurance to get their vehicles registered and to drive their cars on the roads.
There are only two types of mandatory insurance, viz., personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability. While the former pays for your personal medical expenses should you meet with an accident, the latter covers damage caused by you to the property of the other party involved in a crash. Unlike many other states, Florida doesn’t require you to have bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance; however, it is recommended that drivers should have it.
Minimum Requirements for Having Auto Insurance in Florida
Whilst purchasing automobile insurance in Florida, you will require the following minimum amounts of coverage:
Property damage liability (PDL/PD) – $10,000/crash
Personal injury protection (PIP) – $10,000/crash
● Property Damage Liability (PDL):
It covers the cost of repairing the property of the other party if you are responsible for a crash. For instance, if you have rear-ended another vehicle, the PDL coverage of your insurance will cover the cost of repairs to that vehicle.
You must have a minimum of $10,000 of liability coverage, but it is generally recommended to purchase more coverage. Adding extra liability coverage will not be very expensive, but it can save you from paying hundreds or thousands of dollars from your own pocket if you are found responsible for an accident. Remember that PDL does not cover damage to your own property or vehicle.
● Personal Injury Protection (PIP):
It pays your personal medical bills, no matter who was at fault in an accident. In the Sunshine State, PIP covers 80% of the medical care cost. If you are harmed in an accident, you will require paying the rest 20%, using either your own money or your health insurance policy.
Per accident, you may purchase $10,000 of PIP coverage, but you are not allowed to enhance your limits. PIP coverage also comprises a death benefit of $5,000 as well as a disability benefit that recompenses the insured victim for 60% of his/her lost earnings if they are not able to work due to injuries after an accident.
Every component of your PIP limit contributes to the total maximum of $10,000, which your insurance company will pay per crash. These benefits can extend to your family members if they don’t have their own insurance.
If you are retired, you may choose to exclude the lost-income benefit of PIP which will reduce your premiums. However, the same is not recommended for individuals who still rely on their paychecks. However, there is a different way to save some dollars. You can go for a higher PIP deductible, which generally ranges between $250 and $1,000. But, note that a higher deductible may add to your fiscal burden after a crash.
Optional Types of Auto Insurance Coverage
Even with the state-required minimum auto insurance coverage, you may not be completely protected following a major crash. A well-balanced policy should include several different types of coverage. Drivers in Florida may increase their protection by adding the following types of coverage:
● Bodily Injury Liability (BIL):
If you are found responsible for an automobile crash that caused injuries to other people involved, BIL will cover the medical care costs of the other party. Usually, the PIP coverage of the other driver would pay for their medical care, but you might be liable for the costs that are not covered by their PIP.
In such a case, you would require paying from your own pocket. However, if you had coverage, your BIL will recompense the other party’s insurance company. Hence, it is strongly recommended to have this type of coverage. The minimum limit for BIL coverage available in the state is $10,000/person or $20,000/crash. Insurance companies might offer a higher limit or even need it on a minimum-coverage plan.
● Additional PIP:
This is a supplemental type of coverage. Basic PIP will cover up to 80% of your own medical care costs, while any extra PIP will cover the remaining 20%. It also features an additional 25% benefit for loss of income. But, all such expenses should be within the limit of $10,000. Besides, you would also require deciding whether or not to include any of your family members in this type of coverage.
● Medical Payments:
It covers your own medical expenses following an accident, regardless of who is at fault, and it also has a separate limit. Some individuals consider it as not quite beneficial, particularly when they are already covered by some health plan. But, everything boils down to the kind of health policy you have. This is because some health plans do not cover injuries due to automobile crashes.
● Uninsured Motorist BI (UMBI):
It covers the costs of your own bodily injuries and lost earnings should you get involved in a crash with a driver, who is uninsured. Coverage will be dependent on the insurer, as some companies will not allow you to buy UMBI if your auto insurance is without BIL. While you can pick from a variety of limits available, your UMBI limits may not be greater than the limits of your BIL. Because Florida has the second-highest number of claims related to accidents involving uninsured drivers (about 20%) among all U.S. states as per the Insurance Information Institute, UMBI is highly recommended.
Minimum Requirements for SR-22 and FR-44 Policies
If you have been involved in a major crash or caught driving under the influence of drugs, Florida law may need you to have additional types of coverage and may even increase your limits to meet the state’s fiscal responsibility law.
If you have caused an accident that led to injuries or the death of someone, you will have to ask your insurance company to fill out an SR-22 form on your behalf. This is to ensure that your auto policy fulfils Florida requirements. You will also have to buy BIL insurance, over and above your PDL and PIP coverage, with the following limits:
● Property Damage & Bodily Injury:
You can select either a $30,000 limit per accident or get a split-coverage policy. A split-coverage plan comprises $20,000 for bodily injury liability per crash, $10,000 for bodily injury liability per individual, and $10,000 for property damage.
● PIP: $10,000/accident.
● FR-44: If you have been caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida, the state requires you to enhance your coverage limits to 10x the usual amount required:
● Bodily Injury: $300,000 per crash or $100,000 per individual
● PIP: $10,000 per crash
● Property Damage: $50,000 per crash
You Have the Right to Sue after an Automobile Accident
In Florida, you can sue for your suffering and pain due to a crash. Having said that, the limits on the same are more stringent than in several other states. While you may sue for medical expenses
and other financial losses once you have utilized your own PIP limits, you may not be able to sue for emotional trauma or other non-fiscal losses unless you fulfil a few specific thresholds. A court may exempt you from the limited right to sue in the state and award you recompense for your suffering and pain if you fulfil any of the conditions below:
● Major disability due to which, you have lost one or a few bodily functions
● Permanent injury, according to the opinion of a doctor
● Substantial disfigurement, as per the court’s decision
Call MANGAL, PLLC – Clermont Personal Injury Law Firm
If you or your loved ones have met with an accident and sustained injuries, you may be legally eligible to get compensation for your losses. Call experienced personal injury attorneys in Clermont, Florida to discuss your case and understand your legal options.
The qualified personal injury lawyers at MANGAL, PLLC have the expertise to fight for your rights both outside and inside of the court, to help you obtain the compensation you truly deserve.