Florida insurance law is…confusing. Automobile insurance is the most common type of insurance most of us will deal with at one time or another. Many, many times the insured person does not find out what coverage he or she has until after a crash occurs. Only then does the person find out if they have insurance coverage for the damage or loss. I hear clients state, often, “I have full coverage.” “Full coverage” means absolutely NOTHING. There is no provision, anywhere, for a “full coverage” policy. Florida is a sort of a la carte state for insurance coverage. That means that you can pick what coverages you want and how much coverage you want. The only real mandatory coverage is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) also knows as No-Fault coverage. PIP is what I will cover, somewhat briefly, in this post.
PIP is a type of insurance that pays for your medical bills and lost wages in the event of injury in an accident. It makes no difference who is to blame or who is at fault; if you are injured in a car crash your PIP insurance pays for your medical bills. So, if you are a passenger in a friends car and are involved in a car crash, your PIP coverage will pay for your hospital and doctor bills. Many people do not understand this and tell me, “Why should my insurance pay when I wasn’t at fault?” That’s Florida law. PIP is, “PERSONAL” Injury Protection which means that you carry it on your PERSON without regard for who was driving, which car you are in, or who is at fault. Of course, different situations may arise (i.e. an injured person does not own a car or have any PIP insurance) which have different coverage issues.
A common PIP policy will generally cover up to $10,000.00 of medical bills and lost wages and may have a deductible. PIP pays 80% of your medical bills and will also pay 60% any lost wages you might have during your disability. If you are unable to work, it is essential that you get a disability certificate from your medical provider and then submit support for your lost wages (generally a few weeks/months of past pay stubs). Your PIP insurance company will then pay 60% of your lost wages up to a maximum of $10,000.00. Remember, that the $10,000.00 is the TOTAL available for your medical bills AND lost wages. So if your medical bills are $8,000.00 that will only leave $2,000.00 for lost wages.
This is a very, VERY brief introduction to a single type of insurance coverage available. When you consider the different types of auto insurance coverages: PIP, Comprehensive, Collision, Bodily Injury, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist, MedPay, rental, roadside assistance, Gap insurance; you begin to get an idea of how complicated coverage might be, and how much may not be covered when you think it is.
It’s important to know your coverages and rights. The worst time to find out what is covered is after a car crash. Unfortunately, most people find out what is NOT covered and are then responsible for the loss on their own. I recommend speaking with your agent and getting an exact picture of your coverage. My office would be glad to assist you with any issues you might have or any questions regarding coverage on your current policy.