As a Floridian for most of my life living in Kissimmee, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tampa, and St. Petersburg I know that Florida is a hotbed for people who only live in Florida for part of the year. Some people call them snowbirds, but whatever you call them there are some real issues with living in Florida for part of the year when it comes to your car insurance.
As I’ve covered in other articles (https://www.dolmanlaw.com/florida-pip-fault-benefits/) Personal Injury Protection coverage (hereafter referred to as “PIP”) is Florida’s “No Fault” statute. Meaning the law provides up to $10,000 to pay for medical bills, lost wages or other expenses incurred after a car crash without determining who is at fault for the crash. The purpose of the law is to quickly pay medical bills as you are treating.
Every person who is a resident of Florida is required to purchase PIP insurance as part of their Florida Insurance Policy. This sometimes is known that Florida is a “No Fault State” or Florida is a Mandatory PIP state. PIP is also mandatory in Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah. If you live in these states and have PIP on your policy of insurance the rest of this article will be irrelevant to you. However, if you live in the other 36 states, then please continue.
The statute that governs what is required in the state of Florida is Fla. Stat. 627.733. It states:
(1)(a) Every owner or registrant of a motor vehicle, other than a motor vehicle used as a school bus as defined in s. 1006.25 or limousine, required to be registered and licensed in this state shall maintain security as required by subsection (3) in effect continuously throughout the registration or licensing period.
(b) Every owner or registrant of a motor vehicle used as a taxicab shall not be governed by paragraph (1)(a) but shall maintain security as required under s. 324.032(1), and s. 627.737 shall not apply to any motor vehicle used as a taxicab.
(2) Every nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle which, whether operated or not, has been physically present within this state for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days shall thereafter maintain security as defined by subsection (3) in effect continuously throughout the period such motor vehicle remains within this state.
So even though you live most of the year in your home state, if you stay in Florida more than 90 days out of 365, then you need to purchase the legal minimum for Floridians ($10,000 in PIP).
The law does not need for the stays to be continuous. You just add them up and if it’s over 90 days in the last 365, then you need to purchase PIP.
This is a common misconception. The law does not actually care where you as a person are at any time. It only concerns itself with the vehicle. If you leave a vehicle in Florida throughout the year, you need to purchase PIP insurance.
As explained in other articles, PIP insurance covers drivers of vehicles as well as passengers of vehicles, as long as that passenger does not reside with a resident relative who has PIP or own their own vehicle which requires PIP. Therefore, if you are in the State of Florida driving around 25% of the year, with passengers in your vehicle, you would be subjecting them to possible undue hardships if you were to be in a car crash with them in your vehicle as they should be able to assume that you have PIP coverage for them.
In this scenario, clearly you will not get any PIP coverage as you chose not to elect any.
Assuming your passengers have no vehicles, nor live with any resident relatives who have PIP, when you get into a crash, no persons in your vehicle will get PIP coverage. Your passengers might be very surprised to learn this as they see you in Florida for a quarter of the year.
In this scenario, if you spent 89 days in Florida you would receive the PIP insurance of the vehicle in which you were traveling in, however because you spent over 90 and therefore have a vehicle that is required to have its own PIP you get NOTHING. No PIP, not one cent. so while you can save some money by not getting the PIP insurance you could be out of $10,000 in benefits coverage in this scenario.
Other than the obvious, that it is required by law, PIP insurance is $10,000 per person per accident. So if you have a family of five (5) that is $50,000 worth of coverage to heal them after an injury compared to the small amount of money it costs to add the coverage to your policy. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The Dolman Law Group has years of experience dealing with the insurance companies, varying insurance policies, and those who are in need of filing insurance claims. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile accident and are in need of high-quality representation by a personal injury attorney, call Derek Bernstein Esq., the St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney at Dolman Law Group today. We can help you navigate the complex path in maximizing your insurance company claim. Our phone number is 727-222-6922 or email at Derek@dolmanlaw.com. Please feel free to contact me with your questions.