Like most states, Florida requires drivers to have car insurance. However, Florida’s car insurance laws are much different from most other states. Florida has no-fault car insurance laws, which not only can result in higher rates but can also cause some difficulties in an accident. There are specific car insurance requirements for all Florida drivers, and additional coverage options that you might consider.
What Does No Fault Insurance Mean?
No fault car insurance means that when you are in an accident, you file a claim on your own car insurance policy regardless of who was at fault in the accident. In these instances, filing a claim does not necessarily raise your car insurance rates. Because the accident may not have been your fault, Florida insurers do not automatically penalize you for having a claim filed.
When you have an accident, your medical claims must go through your own car insurance first. Once your coverage maximums have been met or exceeded, additional medical expenses can be covered by the at-fault party to the accident. However, with the high coverage limits that Florida requires, most accidents will not result in injuries that exceed the coverage amounts.
Florida’s no fault car insurance laws get a lot of flack for not placing the blame where it belongs. By having no fault car insurance laws, at-fault parties to car accidents often do not face financial consequences. The no fault insurance laws have significantly cut down on lawsuits resulting from car accidents. However, it has also resulted in more dangerous drivers on the road, increased drinking and driving in the state, and more claims being filed.
What Coverage is Required?
There are two types of coverage required by Florida no-fault car insurance laws. The first type of coverage is Property Damage Liability coverage, or PDL. Your PDL policy must cover up to $10,000 of property damage to another vehicle. This coverage only applies to a vehicle that you or a driver on your policy damages in an accident. It is liability only coverage. This coverage does not help you recover losses for damages to your own vehicle. For that type of coverage you will need to go above and beyond Florida’s state required insurance.
The second type of coverage that you must have in Florida is Personal Injury Protection. PIP insurance covers the medical expenses of yourself and any passengers in your vehicle up to $10,000. Remember that with Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, you are required to file a claim for personal injury on your own policy first. In a major accident with multiple passengers, the $10,000 minimum coverage amount may not be enough to cover all expenses. You may want to increase this coverage.
What Coverage is Recommended?
It is recommended that you get car insurance coverage to cover property damages to your own vehicle. If the at-fault driver in the car accident doesn’t have insurance or adequate coverage, you want to be sure that you can get your car repaired or replaced. You’ll also want coverage for your personal property damages if you are at-fault in an accident. You may also want to protect your car against vandalism, theft, and natural disasters.
This type of car insurance coverage is called full coverage insurance. It usually includes comprehensive coverage as well as collision coverage. When you get full coverage insurance in the right coverage amounts, you and your car are fully protected from damages that may occur.
You may also need to consider full coverage insurance if you have a lien on your vehicle. If you got your vehicle through a loan program, the lender likely has a lien on your car. If this is the case, the lien holder will likely require that you have full coverage car insurance to protect their investment. In this case, make sure your car insurance is enough to pay off the loan on the car if it is totaled. You may need to purchase additional coverage such as gap insurance to make this possible.
Another type of car insurance that is recommended in Florida is bodily injury liability insurance. BIL insurance covers medical and funeral expenses for anyone injured in a car accident by you or a covered driver. This type of coverage is not required by the state, and it comes with higher premiums. However, it can be very helpful to have this coverage if you are at-fault in a major car accident. Once both parties to the accident have filed claims with their own insurance companies, any left over expenses must be covered by the at-fault party. With BIL coverage, you will be certain to have enough coverage to pay for all of the medical or funeral expenses of the other party.