Is Florida a No-Fault State?
Last Updated on November 5, 2022
Florida is one of a dozen no-fault states in the United States.
After a car accident in Florida, your insurer covers your own medical bills, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about Florida’s no-fault insurance system and how it works.
Table of Contents:
- How Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Works
- Florida No-Fault Insurance: What You Need to Know
- How Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage Works
- You Have a Limited Right to Sue Another Driver in Florida
- What Qualifies as a Serious Injury in Florida?
- How Florida’s 14-Day Car Insurance Rule Works
- Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Florida
- Pros and Cons of Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System
How Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Works
Florida uses a no-fault insurance system, which means your insurer covers your own medical bills after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
If you are injured in an accident, then your insurer covers certain medical bills and treatment costs. Even if you’re a passenger in a vehicle, your own insurer covers your medical bills after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Florida, like other no-fault states, still uses fault to calculate property damage after an accident. Investigators determine fault after an accident, and the at-fault driver pays to repair or replace the other driver’s vehicle.
Florida is one of 12 states using a no-fault insurance system. Other no-fault insurance states include Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
In comparison, most states use a fault-based insurance system, also known as a full tort or tort system.
Florida’s no-fault insurance system has various pros and cons. We’ll break down the features of Florida’s no-fault insurance system below.
Florida No-Fault Insurance: What You Need to Know
If you just moved to Florida from a fault-based state, then insurance can seem confusing. Here are some of the important features you need to know about Florida’s no-fault insurance system:
Your Own Insurer Pays for Your Medical Bills and Economic Losses After an Accident: If you are injured in a car accident, then your insurer pays for your medical bills and economic losses. Generally, this makes medical insurance claims more efficient in Florida. Instead of waiting to determine fault after an accident, insurers immediately provide payment for your injuries.
You Have a Limited Right to Sue Another Driver After an Accident: Florida’s no-fault insurance system limits your right to file a lawsuit after an accident. You cannot file a lawsuit for non-economic losses after an accident, for example, which means you can’t sue another driver for “pain and suffering” and similar non-economic costs. You can still sue another driver, although you have a more limited right to sue.
Florida Requires Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage: Florida, like most no-fault insurance states, requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which covers your medical treatment costs and certain other damages.
Florida Also Requires Property Damage Liability Coverage: Florida requires drivers to carry a specific minimum amount of two coverages, including property damage liability (PDL) coverage and PIP coverage. PDL covers damage you cause to someone else’s vehicle.
How Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage Works
Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) plays a crucial role in its no-fault insurance system. Most fault-based states do not have or require PIP coverage. Florida, however, does require it.
Here’s how Florida’s PIP coverage works and what it covers:
- PIP covers medical expenses and certain other costs after an accident, regardless of who was at fault for the car accident
- PIP covers 80% of reasonably-incurred medical expenses related to car accident injuries
- PIP covers 60% of lost income resulting from the car accident or associated injuries
- PIP includes $5,000 in death benefits paid to your estate or family after a car accident
- PIP coverage also protects you when you’re a pedestrian, a cyclist, or a passenger in someone else’s vehicle
- PIP coverage extends to your children, members of your household, and passengers who don’t have their own PIP coverage
You Have a Limited Right to Sue Another Driver in Florida
Because Florida uses a no-fault insurance system, you have a limited right to sue another driver in Florida.
Drivers in Florida cannot sue another driver for non-economic losses – like pain and suffering – after an accident, for example.
In comparison, states with a full tort insurance system have no restrictions on your right to sue another driver after an accident. You can sue another driver for any economic and non-economic damages after an accident.
However, drivers in Florida retain the right to sue another driver after experiencing serious injuries.
What Qualifies as a Serious Injury in Florida?
As a driver in Florida, you can file a lawsuit if you experienced a “serious” injury, as defined by state law, as a result of another driver’s actions after an accident.
To qualify as a serious injury, your injury must meet one of the following characteristics:
- You have significant permanent loss of an important bodily function
- You have a permanent injury as a result of the accident
- You experienced significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement from the accident
The estate or family of a deceased driver can also sue after an accident involving a death. If another driver’s actions led to the death of a family member, for example, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver.
How Florida’s 14-Day Car Insurance Rule Works
It’s important to understand Florida’s 14-day rule after an accident.
Florida law dictates that you must receive initial medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to collect benefits for medical expenses.
If you were involved in an accident and waited four weeks to receive initial medical treatment, for example, then you may be unable to collect benefits for medical expenses.
As long as you visited the emergency room, saw a doctor, or received some type of medical care within 14 days of your accident, you should be able to receive compensation for 80% of reasonably-incurred medical expenses.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida, like most states, requires drivers to carry a certain minimum amount of car insurance to drive legally.
Unlike most states, however, Florida does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage. Instead, Florida requires only two coverages, including:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL)
Many drivers in Florida carry bodily injury liability coverage even though it’s not required. Bodily injury liability coverage can protect you from paying another driver’s medical bills for a serious injury after an accident, for example. Without bodily injury liability coverage, you may need to pay these damages out of pocket.
Many drivers in Florida also exceed the minimum limits listed above. Although you are technically only required to carry $10,000 in PIP and PDL coverage, it may be in your best interest to exceed these limits for added protection.
Pros and Cons of Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System
Some people like Florida’s no-fault insurance system. It speeds up payments after an accident and gives drivers peace of mind.
Others dislike Florida’s no-fault insurance system, claiming it leads to increased costs, higher rates of fraud, and other issues.
Here are some of the pros and cons of Florida’s no-fault insurance system:
Advantages of Florida’s no-fault insurance system include:
Fast Payouts from Insurers: In at-fault states, you may need to wait months to receive compensation as insurers debate who was at fault for an accident. In comparison, drivers in Florida and other no-fault states receive compensation quickly after a loss.
Greater Coverage After an Accident: Florida’s PIP coverage compensates you for lost income and other costs after an accident. In other states, you may receive no compensation for these damages after an accident.
Retain Your Right to Sue: Florida’s no-fault insurance system restricts your right to file a lawsuit. However, you can still file a lawsuit after an accident – you just can’t file a claim for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses. If you experience a serious injury as a result of another driver’s actions, then you can file a lawsuit against that driver.
Property Damage Still Falls Under Fault-Based Insurance: If you collide with another driver in Florida and the other driver is 100% at fault, then the other driver compensates you for 100% of the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Florida, like all other no-fault states, uses a no-fault insurance system for medical expenses – not property damage.
Disadvantages of Florida’s no-fault insurance system include:
Higher Insurance Premiums: Drivers in Florida pay some of the highest average annual insurance premiums in the United States. The average Florida driver pays nearly twice as much for full coverage car insurance as the average American – roughly $2,650 per year compared to $1,450 per year in other states. Although several factors go into insurance premiums, no-fault states tend to have higher insurance premiums than at-fault states, and many blame Florida’s no-fault insurance system for the state’s notoriously high premiums.
Higher Rates of Fraud: Detractors of Florida’s no-fault insurance system claim it leads to higher rates of fraud. Medical providers and phony clinics file fraudulent auto insurance claims to receive PIP payments, for example.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means insurers cover your own medical bills immediately after a loss, regardless of fault.
To learn more about Florida’s no-fault insurance system or to check available coverages, contact your insurer or compare Florida car insurance quotes online.