Insurance Coverage 101: A Quick Primer On Insurance Coverage
As a Florida Injury Law Attorney, I am often asked by clients; what is the proper amount of insurance to have and what types of coverage should be on an automobile policy. In Florida, it is mandatory for every driver with a registered vehicle to have liability insurance coverage should they ever be involved in an automobile accident. Also in the state of Florida, all insurance policies must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell insuranin Florida. Drivers may not n maintain their current policy issued in their previous state of residence.Below are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Florida: 1. You must carry $10,000.00 worth of property damage coverage to pay for the other party’s car repairs if you were at fault (this does not include costs for your own auto damage if you were the party at fault). 2. You must also carry $10,000.00 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for the first $10,000.00 of your medical bills and lost wages (Florida is a no-fault state and your own insurance company must pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000). That is it. Nothing else is required in Florida to hop behind the wheel and drive down the road. If that isn't frightening enough, more than 50% of people driving on the road today only carry this minimal insurance policy and some may not have any insurance at all, meaning they are driving illegally (according to statistics, approximately 23% of drivers are on the road without any insurance at all and the number is steadily rising). Arming yourself with adequate insurance coverage is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Here are Dolman Law Group’s recommendations on what insurance you need to sufficiently protect yourself: Purchase Collision Insurance on your auto policy. If you lack collision insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket to repair or replace your vehicle if:
- The damage to your car is quoted to be more than $10,000
- The at fault party is driving illegally with no insurance
- You were responsible for the accident
- Your car is totaled and you owe more to the bank than the car is actually worth
- Your medical bills and lost wages are more than $10,000. Remember: $10,000 in PIP coverage may be exhausted before you even leave the ER
- You have severe injuries. It may take a while for your case to settle or be tried and this will help you get through the financially rough times.
- To cover the percentage that PIP does not pay (PIP only covers 80% of medical bills you are responsible for the remaining 20% of medical bills) and more.
- You were at fault in an accident and caused serious injury (this will protect your personal assets).
- You need to purchase UM coverage and in order to be eligible to get UM coverage you must first have BI.
- The at-fault party has minimal or no liability insurance and your case is worth more than the amount of insurance the other person has. (For example: If you have a $100,000 case and the other person only has $10,000 of liability insurance, you can collect the remainder due to you from your own insurance company if you have at least $90,000 of UM insurance.)
- We recommend that you purchase "Stacked" UM if you have two or more vehicles on the same insurance policy. One is eligible to get additional UM or "stacked coverage" at a reduced cost. (For example: If you have 3 cars on the same policy each with $100,000 BI, you can purchase up to $300,000 of stacked UM coverage for a very small additional premium and greatly expand the protection to you and your family)
- This allows for a lot more insurance coverage at a very low cost
Final Tips:All of these insurance coverage recommendations may sound expensive, but you will be relieved to find out it costs a lot less than you probably think, especially if you have a clean driving record. We suggest you avoid the so called "low cost", "we insure anyone" insurance carriers, and research competitive pricing from the major, well-known companies. Remember, bodily injury insurance protects others (strangers) who are injured in the accident. UIM (uninsured/underinsured) insurance coverage protects you, your family and anyone else who was injured while in your automobile. It irks us to see an insurance policy with $100,000 worth of BI coverage and no UIM protection. In my opinion this should be considered negligence by the insurance agent or carrier. Why would anyone choose to protect strangers and not themselves and their family? If you have any questions concerning the advice we have provided and would like to consult with a Florida injury law attorney, call us today at: (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation and case evaluation.