Florida is a "No Fault" State. Simply put, that means that no matter who is at fault in an accident, you must go to your own auto insurance to pay your medical bills. This insurance is referred to as PIP or Personal Injury Protection coverage. In Florida, this coverage is mandatory for all owners of automobiles.
Note: If you were not at fault in the accident, you may also claim against the person who was at fault for the balance of your medical bills as well as what we refer to as money or compensatory damages. However, your medical bills will still be paid at 80% by your own PIP carrier.
In Florida, if you own a motor vehicle, you must have PIP on your auto policy. If you are involved in an automobile accident, this coverage is primary over health insurance and supplemental insurance. Your auto insurance rates will not increase if you were not at fault in the accident. Premiums are determined in Florida based upon this concept. PIP coverage provides for payment of medical bills by your insurance company up to $10,000.00 (unless you purchase additional "extended" PIP coverage which would pay more than $10,000.00, or have Medical Payments Coverage which would pay the other 20% that your PIP does not pay).
Under PIP, payment of medical bills are made at 80%, starting at your deductible. It also pays 60% of your lost wages. However, your coverage will total $10,000.00 (unless you purchase additional coverage) and once that limit is reached by payment of both medical bills and lost wages, your PIP insurance company will no longer be responsible for either.
Please note: You should not have a deductible under your PIP. You will be surprised that it will only save you pennies if you carry one, but in the event of an accident you could be responsible for substantial medical bills that you may not be able to afford.
The following persons are covered under your PIP insurance:
- YOUR SPOUSE
- ANY RELATIVES LIVING WITH YOU AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT WHO DO NOT OWN A MOTOR VEHICLE (whether they are in your auto or someone else's and get into an accident, they will claim under your PIP as a resident relative).
- DRIVERS OR PASSENGERS OF YOUR VEHICLE WHO DO NOT OWN A MOTOR VEHICLE NOR LIVE WITH A RELATIVE WHO OWNS A VEHICLE.
PIP Coverage follows you. If you are involved in an auto accident, as long as you come into contact with another motor vehicle, whether on a bicycle, as a pedestrian, in your auto or someone else's vehicle, you are covered under your PIP and must present a claim to your PIP carrier. As stated above, if you do not own a motor vehicle but reside with a relative who does, you are covered under their policy.
Property Damage Liability Coverage:
This coverage pays the other party's property damage in the event you are at fault in an accident. If you were not at fault in the accident, it does not apply. Property Damage Liability Coverage and PIP are the only two coverages which are mandatory in the State of Florida.
Medical Payments Coverage (MEDPAY):
This coverage provides payment of the other 20% of your medical bills that is not covered by PIP.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage:
This coverage applies only in the event that you are at fault in an accident. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage will pay money or compensatory damages to a claimant if he/she meets certain requirements under Florida's No Fault Law, up to the limit of your coverage. Your insurance company will also pay your legal fees in the defense of your claim, if applicable.
Most states have statutes requiring that motorists have at least some Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. However, in Florida, only PIP and Property Damage Liability Coverage is mandatory. See below for important information regarding Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage.
If you are at fault in an accident or the at fault party has no insurance coverage, this coverage would be important as it may be the only source to pay for damage to your vehicle. Depending upon the value of your vehicle you may consider adding this coverage.
Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist Protection (UM)
In the event the at fault party does not carry Bodily Injury Liability insurance (which pays money damages to you in the event of an auto accident and which is not required in Florida), this coverage is crucial. Instead of making a claim for money damages to the at-fault party, the claim is made to your own insurance company and treated as if you were proceeding against the other party. Once money is paid to you in the form of a settlement or verdict rendered by a jury, your insurance company may elect to subrogate, or go after the other party for reimbursement of the amount paid to you. Additionally, this coverage also acts as Underinsured Motorist coverage, if the at fault party does have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, but it is insufficient. In that case, you would be entitled to obtain the limits of the other party's coverage and then proceed against your own UM for additional monies up to the limit of your policy. If you have multiple vehicles on your policy, you may be able to "stack" or add these coverage's together for additional limits.
There are certain requirements that you must follow, for example obtaining permission from your UM carrier to settle with the other party's insurance company prior to signing a release and therefore legal advice is always recommended before proceeding with your claim.
Statistics show that there may be in upwards of 50% of the driving population who do not carry Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, let alone those who do not even have a current driver's license. Therefore, this type of coverage is of utmost importance in Florida.
Our firm offers a free review of your current insurance policy. Should you wish to have us review your policy, please schedule an appointment by calling 954-370-5152.
If you were involved in an accident, all services are provided on a contingency fee basis with no upfront costs to you. We only collect if you collect. If you do not have transportation to our offices, we will provide it to you at no charge and, we will come to your home and visit you in the hospital if you cannot make it to our offices.