If you own an automobile in Florida, you must purchase insurance for it. However, only two types of insurance are required: Personal Injury Protection (PIP or No-Fault Insurance) and Property Damage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers you (and in some cases any relative living in your household) if injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Regardless of who is at fault in causing the accident, your medical bills and lost wages must be submitted first to your own auto insurance company. This is why PIP insurance is also known as "no-fault insurance".
PIP insurance pays 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages. PIP may also cover a percentage of other expenses such as lawn maintenance or housekeeping necessitated by your injuries and also mileage for medical care treatment.
You have only 14 days to seek initial medical treatment in order to make a claim for PIP insurance coverage. If you fail to seek treatment within 14 days, your insurance company may deny payment.
Florida law requires $10,000 minimum in PIP coverage. However, you have the right to purchase more than $10,000.
Lost Wage Coverage Under a PIP Policy
One great benefit of owning a PIP policy is the fact that it will pay 60% of your lost wages if you are hurt.
Insurance companies require proof from your doctor that you are unable to work. Once the insurance company has that information, they must begin paying your lost wages within 30 days. As long as your doctor continues to state you cannot work, you will be entitled to a check from your insurance company every two weeks.
Remember that PIP pays only 60% of your lost wages. You are entitled to this regardless of who caused the accident. The negligent driver responsible for the accident will also be responsible for the remaining 40% of your lost wages unpaid by PIP. However, you will not be entitled to the 40% of your unpaid wages until your case is closed. Also, any lost wage payments made by your PIP policy will reduce the amount of money available under your PIP policy for your medical care.
Medical Payment (MedPay) Insurance
Because PIP only pays 80% of your medical bills, many people purchase additional coverage known as "Medical Payments Coverage" (or MedPay). This type of coverage supplements PIP insurance and pays the additional 20% of the medical bills not covered under your PIP policy.
Property Damage Coverage
The other type of insurance required under Florida law is "Property Damage Liability Coverage." Florida law requires $10,000 minimum in property damage coverage. This insurance covers the damage you cause to the property of another motorist.
Property damage liability coverage does not protect your car if it is damaged in the accident. It only protects the property of the other driver in the accident. You need collision insurance to cover your automobile.
Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) Insurance
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“UM-UIM”) protects you for personal injury damages caused by another driver if that driver doesn't have insurance coverage or enough to pay all of your damages.
Unfortunately, there are many drivers operating vehicles that do not have insurance to cover your injuries. Most UM-UIM policies will cover you, your spouse, and all relatives residing in your household, and most often all of your passengers. Also, the UM-UIM policies will cover you if you are riding in another person's vehicle, and even if you are a pedestrian or on a bicycle.
We believe UM-UIM coverage is some of the most important insurance everyone who owns a vehicle should purchase.
How Much UM-UIM Insurance Should You Purchase? Stacked or Non-Stacked?
You should first determine how many vehicles you have on the policy. The reason for this is that there are two types of UM-UIM coverage, "stacked" coverage and "non-stacked."
A person who purchases UM-UIM is entitled to "stack" or add together the combined UM-UIM coverages of his/her policy in order to determine the total amount of coverage available. For example, if a person owns two automobiles each with $25,000 UM-UIM limits, he/she will have $50,000 in coverage per accident.
If you have "non-stacked" coverage and own more than one vehicle, you are limited to the UM-UIM coverage on the one particular vehicle that was involved in the collision.
It is better to purchase stacked coverage if you own more than one vehicle.
Are You Adequately Insured?
Many people assume they have "full coverage." However, in Florida, "full coverage" only means you have PIP and Property Damage Liability Policy. There are other types of insurance coverage available, such as:
Collision Coverage - which pays for damage to your car, even if you are at fault.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage - which pays for injuries suffered by the other driver and passengers if you are at fault.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage - which pay for your injuries if the other driver does not have insurance or doesn't have enough insurance.
Many people think they have adequate coverage to protect themselves in case of an accident. In our practice we often see people who simply have the minimum coverage required by law.
You may not realize that the minimum coverage in many cases is not enough. You should carefully examine your present insurance coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you have and, more importantly, what you don't have. We suggest you go through your insurance with your agent, long before an accident occurs.