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Personal Injury Protection Coverage and Rental Cars

Using Your PIP When Renting A Car in Florida

Whether it’s to take a road trip, get a round a city your visiting or to use while your car is in the shop many Floridians are familiar with renting a vehicle. One of the things people do not consider when renting a car is how their choice of vehicle will affect their ability to use the $10,000 available in Personal Injury Protection (hereinafter referred to as “PIP”) coverage.

In this article we will discuss how the Florida No-Fault law (Florida Statute 627.736) is effected by your choice of destination and choice of vehicle. This article assumes that the reader is a person insured to drive, owns a vehicle, and is insured with a Florida-based policy.

Those scenarios are:

  1. Renting a car for leisure within the State of Florida.
  2. Renting a car out of state for leisure.
  3. Using a rental car out of state because your vehicle is inoperable or in the shop.
  4. Driving a friend’s car out of state, as that friend is a resident of another state.
  5. Driving your own vehicle out of state.

Florida PIP Law

It is important to note that Florida Statute 627.736(4)(e)(1-4) governs the area when someone is entitled to benefits from their PIP coverage. It states:

“(e) The insurer of the owner of a motor vehicle shall pay personal injury protection benefits for:

  1. Accidental bodily injury sustained in this state by the owner while occupying a motor vehicle, or while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle if the injury is caused by physical contact with a motor vehicle.
  2. Accidental bodily injury sustained outside this state, but within the United States of America or its territories or possessions or Canada, by the owner while occupying the owner’s motor vehicle.
  3. Accidental bodily injury sustained by a relative of the owner residing in the same household, under the circumstances described in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2., if the relative at the time of the accident is domiciled in the owner’s household and is not the owner of a motor vehicle with respect to which security is required under ss. 627.730627.7405.
  4. Accidental bodily injury sustained in this state by any other person while occupying the owner’s motor vehicle or, if a resident of this state, while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle if the injury is caused by physical contact with such motor vehicle, if the injured person is not:

a. The owner of a motor vehicle with respect to which security is required under ss. 627.730627.7405; or

b. Entitled to personal injury benefits from the insurer of the owner of such a motor vehicle.”

 

SCENARIO #1- Renting a car for leisure within the State of Florida.

You would get your PIP coverage as section (e)(1) states: “1. Accidental bodily injury sustained in this state by the owner while occupying a motor vehicle”.

This means whenever you are driving in a vehicle in the State of Florida and you have a Florida insurance policy, your PIP follows you around from vehicle to vehicle, no matter which one you are driving. This is, of course, as long as you don’t own multiple vehicles with different insurance policies. If that is so, you would get the PIP from the insurance policy on that vehicle. If you weren’t driving your vehicle, your PIP would be paid pro rata from the multiple policies.

SCENARIO #2- Renting a car out of state for leisure.

In this scenario, you would not get your PIP coverage, as section (e)(2) states: “2. Accidental bodily injury sustained outside this state, but within the United States of America or its territories or possessions or Canada, by the owner while occupying the owner’s motor vehicle.”

The key words here are placed in bold as the only way to get the coverage. Some nuance, discussed later, can extend coverage. Therefore, if you were to get into a crash with your family out of state in a rental car, you will get zero dollars’ worth of your PIP coverage. Comparatively if you were driving your own car, you would each be entitled to up to $10,000 in PIP coverage.

This scenario leads to another question…

Should you rent a car if you plan on leaving the state?

SCENARIO #3- Using a rental car out of state because your vehicle is inoperable or in the shop.

Most insurance companies would extend coverage to you for PIP benefits under a “replacement vehicle” or “temporary vehicle” portion of their policy. Most insurance companies define “covered auto” as also including vehicles that you are using “temporarily” due to a mechanical issue that leaves your vehicle inoperable. It can also in some instances cover a newly purchased vehicle, but for this scenario that would not apply.

As a caveat, it would be important to mention to your medical provider that you were driving this vehicle because of (fill in the blank reason) so they can be forewarned that they may get denied on payment from your PIP insurance.  Failure to mention this ahead of time will delay payments and could delay settlement of your Bodily Injury (At-Fault) case.

SCENARIO #4- Driving a friend’s car out of state, as that friend is a resident of another state.

In this scenario, you would not get any PIP insurance. Even if you drove your car to the state they lived. When you chose to drive that person’s vehicle, you are not following the rule of (e)(1). In order to get PIP insurance, you must be driving your vehicle, not theirs. You may be saved only if you are in a state that also has PIP. In essence, if you are out of state and have your car there. Drive it, not your friends.

SCENARIO #5- Driving your own vehicle out of state.

In this case, yes, you would get PIP coverage. Remember (e)(2) states: “2.Accidental bodily injury sustained outside this state, but within the United States of America or its territories or possessions or Canada, by the owner while occupying the owner’s motor vehicle.”

Meaning if you are driving your own car out of state you are good as long as you are driving within the United States of America and Canada. Go to Mexico and you are out of luck.

Contact Experienced PIP Lawyers in Pinellas County

If you have been injured while driving a rental car or have any questions regarding PIP coverage, reach out to us at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at derek@dolmanlaw.com or call 727-222-6922 to speak to an experienced PIP attorney.

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