Florida Auto Insurance Coverage
Typically, a Florida auto insurance coverage policy contains several different types of coverage. It is extremely important for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the different types of coverage available to them in the state of Florida. Many people think they are fully protected or have "full coverage," because that is what their agents told them. Often times, we see that is not the case once an accident occurs.
Understanding the different kinds of Florida auto insurance coverage is important so that you can purchase what is needed to protect you and your family in the event of a motor vehicle accident.
To help consumers choose sufficient Florida auto insurance coverage, the personal injury attorneys at the Miami-based law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A., have provided brief descriptions of the basic types of coverage. This is not a full explanation of all types of coverage and is not intended to advise you on how to purchase insurance coverage or what coverage to buy. We offer this brief explanation solely for educational purposes, as we have found in our years of practicing personal injury law that many people do not truly understand automobile insurance.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Personal injury protection, also called no-fault coverage, is auto insurance coverage that provides payment for the injured person's own medical expenses and lost wages incurred as a result of an automobile accident. The typical policy pays for 80 percent of an injured person's medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages up to a maximum of $10,000.00. These PIP payments are made without regard to who caused the car accident. In addition, PIP coverage contains a death benefit in the event of a fatal car accident. Typically, PIP benefits are available for named insureds and their resident family members.
- Liability coverage: Liability coverage protects the insured person from legal liability if he or she negligently causes bodily injury or property damage in an automobile accident. Pursuant to the typical liability insurance coverage agreement, the insurance company agrees to provide coverage for, and defend its insured against, all claims for liability. The typical liability policy includes separately stated coverage amounts for both bodily injury liability and property damage liability. In the normal scenario, an insured will pay separately stated premiums for this coverage. Bodily injury coverage is not mandatory in Florida, and coverage typically ranges from $10,000.00 to $300,000.00.
- Medical payments coverage: Unlike PIP, which is a type of Florida auto insurance coverage required by law, medical payments coverage (Med Pay coverage) is a voluntary coverage not required by Florida law. The basic purpose of medical payments coverage is to supplement PIP benefits to ensure that an insured's medical expenses are paid in full up to the policy limits. In addition, medical payments coverage provides coverage for certain injury situations that are not included under a basic PIP policy.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage, which is generally referred to as UM coverage, is arguably the most important voluntary coverage available in Florida. UM coverage provides benefits up to the policy amount for the bodily injury caused by the negligence of a motorist who is either (a) uninsured for liability, or (b) insured with liability insurance but with inadequate policy limits. In other words, it is insurance you carry to protect yourself in case you are injured by someone who is not properly insured. All insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage as part of their automobile insurance policies. An insured person who purchases liability coverage must sign a written rejection of uninsured motorist coverage in order for such coverage not to be part of the insurance policy. Because of the increasing percentage of uninsured motorists on Florida's highways, uninsured motorist coverage is commonly considered to be essential to those persons who are seeking to be "fully covered."
- Physical damage coverage: By its terms, physical damage coverage provides benefits to the insured for physical damage to a vehicle owned by the insured. The benefits are typically payable regardless of fault. Physical damage coverage may be generally classified as either comprehensive or collision.
- Comprehensive coverage is commonly referred to as an "all-risks policy," which covers for perils other than those resulting from an actual collision. Examples would be fire, theft, larceny, malicious mischief or vandalism.
- Under collision coverage, benefits are payable for losses sustained as a result of a collision or impact with another vehicle or object.
- Extended PIP: Extended PIP increases the benefits paid for medical expenses from 80 percent to 100 percent, and for lost wages from 60 percent to 80 percent.
- Additional coverage: Most insurance companies offer coverage that will reimburse an insured for towing expenses and rental car expenses in case of an accident which renders the insured's vehicle inoperable.
For more information, call the lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, P.A. toll-free at (888) 499-9700.