Auto insurance is required in the state of Florida. In order to drive, your policy must meet the state minimums. Unless you speak directly with an insurance agent, you may not know exactly what you’re paying for and what is covered. Furthermore, the coverage under a specific plan can vary from company to company.
Before you apply or renew your current insurance policy or file an insurance claim, speak with a car accident attorney. A lawyer can help you understand all the different types of coverages and, in the event you need to file a claim, fight for the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, property damage and more. If your researching different types of auto insurance coverages or you were just involved in an accident, the following information on insurance and policies in Florida could provide some clarification.
Insurance Minimums in Florida
Florida law requires residents of the state to have car insurance at all times if they will be driving a vehicle. Every driver is required to purchase the minimum coverage amounts for both personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and property damage liability (PDL) car insurance.
Remember – Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that if you are injured in an accident, your car insurance should pay your medical costs up to your policy’s limits, regardless of who caused the accident.
The minimum limits for Florida car insurance are:
- $10,000 of no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
- $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) insurance.
Personal Injury Protection – Personal injury protection, on top of covering your part of medical expenses and income loss, can also cover other members of the household, your child (when riding a school bus), you, and other passengers in your car in certain circumstances.
Property Damage Liability – Property damage liability auto insurance in Florida will cover you for damages you cause in a car accident to someone else’s property, such as a home or building.
While Florida law requires these as the minimum amounts of car insurance coverage every driver must have, you can always purchase a higher amount of coverage if you wish to do so. These types of optional coverage include:
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Towing and labor
- Rental car coverage
Remember to thoroughly research each different policy in depth prior to deciding on the best car insurance policy for you.
What Is Covered in a Basic Auto Insurance Policy?
Before deciding the best option for you and your needs, be sure to do extensive research on all of the options available. Look into which types of coverage are required, and how different forms of coverage work.
Remember that the policy you choose will cover you, the licensed members of your household who are listed on the policy, and normally any others you give permission to drive your car.
Make sure you meet your state’s car insurance requirements as well. Almost every state requires by law that all drivers carry a minimum amount of auto insurance to cover damages or injuries caused by you or your car in the event of an accident.
When you’re reviewing your policy, whether before an accident occurred or after one, there are six basic types of coverage you might come across in your policy: bodily injury liability, personal injury protection, property damage liability, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability covers the medical expenses of someone you or a household family member injure in a crash. The policy should also cover drivers who use your vehicle with permission and injure someone else. The insurance company will pay for injuries up to the policy limits. If you are sued, your automobile insurance company will provide legal representation for you.
Personal Injury Protection
In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). PIP is also known as “no fault” insurance as it covers medical costs after an accident, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. Broadly speaking, PIP will cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident. In order to qualify for PIP, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability covers damage you, or someone driving your vehicle, caused to someone else’s property, such as their vehicle, home fence, business, etc.
If you’re in an accident with another vehicle or hit a fixed object, such as a light post, collision coverage can help pay to repair or replace the vehicle after you pay your deductible. Collision coverage is not always required.
Comprehensive coverage can help cover your vehicle for damages that aren’t caused by a collision such as fire, theft, natural disasters, falling objects, or vandalism. You will have to pay a deductible before the insurer reimburses you for a covered claim. Comprehensive coverage is also not required but can be very beneficial.
If you, a member of your family, or a designated driver is in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver who flees the scene, uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for your losses. Underinsured coverage can be helpful when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. Underinsured/uninsured coverage may also apply if you are involved in a crash as a pedestrian.
Collision vs. Comprehensive Coverage
Collision and comprehensive insurance are both types of auto insurance which the insurer pays for vehicle repairs. While there are many different types of auto insurance coverage, collision and comprehensive are two of the most common.
Comprehensive insurance – Comprehensive insurance covers damages from an “act of God,” including accidents such as a heavy tree branch falling on the car, or a hurricane causing flood damage.
Types of damages covered under comprehensive auto insurance include:
- Natural disasters: storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, hailstorms.
- Fire, civil commotions, explosions.
- Vandalism and theft.
- Damage from impacts with animals, such as a deer. Note: a crash from swerving to avoid animals will likely fall under collision.
- Broken or shattered windows and windshield.
- Falling objects.
Collision insurance – Collision insurance will cover crashes with other vehicles, crashes into a fixed structure, and more. Majority of car crashes and auto accidents will fall under this kind of insurance policy. Crashes covered under collision insurance include:
- Crashing into another car, or another car crashing into you while you're parked.
- Driving into a stationary object, such as a tree, streetlight, or pole.
- Crashing into a ditch or a pothole.
- Car flipping over.
- A hit-and-run, if you can't use uninsured motorist coverage.
The main benefit of collision insurance is that you have the capability to file a claim and receive reimbursement, regardless of which party is at fault. Another benefit is that you only deal with your own insurance company, rather than another insurer with less incentive to pay for your claim. Collision insurance may also be used toward your rental car, which can spare you from having to buy rental car insurance and pay the daily amount towards the rental.
Car Insurance Extras
Along with the basic coverage options, your policy may list some extras that come in handy in an emergency, such as tow truck services after a car crash.
This can help you pay for a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired after a crash covered under your policy.
Whether your battery died, you have a flat tire, or your car needs to be towed to a repair shop, roadside assistance can help offset some of these costs.
If you don’t own your vehicle and have an accident, gap insurance can pay the difference between the value of the vehicle and your outstanding balance on a loan or lease.
If you have only the bare minimum in Florida, you may want to consider windshield repair or comprehensive coverage. Under comprehensive coverage, policyholders can get their windshields replaced with zero deductible (Florida Statute 627.7288).
The typical components of a car insurance policy can help protect you and your vehicle. But don’t wait until you’re in an accident to find out what is covered under your plan. Always review your plan and determine if you need to switch insurers or buy more coverage.
If you have been involved in a crash, you should immediately contact an attorney. A car crash lawyer, such as Justin Weinstein, can help determine what is covered under your policy and successfully obtain the compensation you deserve.
For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call 954-845-0505.