What is 'Full' Coverage Florida?
When it comes to auto insurance in Florida, the term “full” coverage has different meanings for different people. Some people will tell you that it means that you carry the minimum amount which Florida law requires. However, other people may say that it means that you have auto insurance which gives you significantly more protection.
At Englander Peebles, we fall into the second camp. We know how costly car accidents can be. Medical bills and car repair expenses quickly add up after a crash. Also, many people lose a great deal of money when their injuries prevent them from being able to work. That is why we suggest going well above the minimum amount which Florida law requires. If you have experienced a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, contact us for help!
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What Is Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida?
To register a car in Florida, you must have two types of auto insurance under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) – Florida requires that you carry at least $10,000 of this coverage. It covers 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses that you incur due to an auto accident and 60 percent of your wage losses. It will also cover up to $5,000 in death benefits. The coverage applies regardless of who was at fault for the crash. It can cover you, your kids and other members of your household and even passengers in your car who do not have their own PIP coverage. It also protects you if you get hurt as a bicyclist, pedestrian or passenger in someone else’s car.
- Property damage liability (PDL) – This coverage protects you if you cause damage to someone else’s property in an accident such as another vehicle, fence, tree, mailbox, yard or home. Under Florida law, you must carry at least $10,000 in PDL coverage.
If you have these two types of mandatory coverage in Florida, then according to some people, you have “full” coverage. However, if you step back and think about it, both types of coverage provide little protection.
For instance, medical costs today are astronomical. If you get hurt in a crash, you may quickly reach your PIP limits and be left with significant medical debt. Also, if you are at fault in a crash, the other driver may sue you for damages. PIP won’t pay a penny to cover that person’s medical costs, lost wages and other damages. So, you could be forced to pay a judgment out of your personal assets.
Additionally, cars and car repairs are more expensive today than ever before. So, with only $10,000 in PDL coverage, you could be forced to use your home, car, boat and whatever other personal assets that you have to satisfy a property damage claim against you. Also, PDL won’t cover your own property damage.
Do You Need to Carry Bodily Injury Liability Coverage in Florida?
Florida law generally does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. This is insurance that pays for the medical expenses, lost income and other out-of-pocket expenses that someone else incurs due to a car accident that you caused. However, as the Florida Department of Financial Services explains, the state’s Financial Responsibility Law requires drivers who have received certain traffic citations or caused an accident that resulted in the injury or death of another person to carry the following minimum amounts:
- $10,000 per person in BIL
- $20,000 per accident in BIL (if two or more persons are injured), or
- $30,000 combined single limit (PDL and BIL).
If you were convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) after October 1, 2007, then you must carry liability insurance in the following minimum amounts for at least three years after your driving privileges are reinstated (as long as you commit no other DUI or felony traffic offense):
- $100,000 per person in BIL
- $300,000 per accident in BIL
- $50,000 per accident in PDL.
However, even if you are not required to carry BIL, you should still purchase this protection. If you do not have BIL, then you will put your personal assets in serious jeopardy if you cause a crash that causes others to suffer serious injuries. Do you really want to take that risk?
What Other Types of Auto Insurance Will Give You ‘Full’ Coverage?
In order to have “full” coverage, some people will suggest that you also carry the following additional types of auto insurance:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) – At Englander Peebles, we believe this is one of the most important types of additional coverage that you can have. It will cover your bodily injury damages (as well as those of your family members and passengers) if you are involved in a crash that is caused by a driver who has no liability insurance or has insurance that fails to fully cover all of your losses. With this insurance, you will also be covered if you are hurt in a collision with a hit-and-run driver. Keep in mind: To have UM/UIM, you must have BIL coverage. Your UM/UIM limits will be the same as your BIL limits.
- Collision and comprehensive – Collision insurance will cover your car damage if you are in a crash with another vehicle, regardless of who was at fault. Comprehensive will cover non-crash related damage such as that caused by a fire, flood, vandalism or an animal. If you finance the purchase of your car, the lender may actually require you to have this coverage.
- Medical payments – This insurance will cover the accident-related medical expenses (or funeral expenses) that you incur and which PIP does not cover (up to your policy’s limits). Like PIP, the coverage will apply regardless of who caused the crash.
- Rental reimbursement and towing/labor – If your car gets majorly damaged in a wreck, getting your car towed to a repair shop and arranging for transportation while it is being repaired (or while you are shopping for a new car) can be major headaches. This optional type of insurance can cover those costs.
The amount of each type of coverage that you should purchase – whether it’s PIP, PDL, BIL or UM/UIM – will depend on your circumstances. You should shop around and find a policy that provides the amount of protection you want and charges the premiums which you can afford. Just keep in mind: If you are ever involved in a crash, you will be glad that you have extra protection.
Our Florida Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Dealing with auto insurance policies – not to mention insurance company representatives – can be confusing, frustrating and highly stressful after a crash. This is especially true if you are dealing with painful and debilitating injuries or the loss of a loved one. For this reason, you should contact Englander Peebles as soon as possible. We will determine the maximum amount of insurance coverage available to you, and we will handle all aspects of the claims process from start to finish. We want to make the process go as smoothly as possible for you so that you can focus on your health and your family.
To learn more about how the experienced Florida car accident lawyers of Englander Peebles can help you, call or reach us online today. We can provide a free consultation at our offices in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton or Miami, or we can meet with you at your home or the hospital – wherever is most convenient for you.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the pressure people face when they are seriously hurt in an accident and are facing off against a large insurance company. As the bills mount, so does the stress. And the most frustrating part is that you can be victimized a second time if the insurance company refuses to pay in full, putting your financial future in jeopardy.