Car insurance is one of those that things most of us think little about until we need to use it. If you have only a vague idea of how car insurance works – or even what coverage you have – you are not alone. We work with car accident victims in Florida every day and help them to understand how the insurance claims process works.
Here, we provide a brief summary of what Florida law requires for auto insurance and discuss additional facts that can help you to determine what your coverage needs may be. For more in-depth information, we suggest that you visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles site.
Florida Law Requires Certain Types of Car Insurance
Florida’s “no-fault” law requires the owners of four-wheeled vehicles registered in the state to buy and maintain auto insurance that provides the following minimum levels of coverage:
- $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This insurance covers your medical bills regardless of whether you caused a crash. Your policy will also cover your child, members of your household and certain other passengers as well as certain licensed drivers who drive your vehicle with your permission. PIP coverage also protects an insured party if he or she is hurt in a car accident while in someone else’s vehicle or as a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
- $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL) – This insurance pays for the damage to other people’s property in a car crash that you or others who are covered under your policy cause.
The minimum required insurance must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell in Florida. Upon a police officer’s request, you must prove that you have valid Florida auto insurance that meets the above minimum requirements. This is why you should keep a copy of your insurance card in your car at all times.
Other Auto Insurance Options in Florida
Most people have only the minimum coverage required by law. Still, you can buy PIP and PDL coverage in higher amounts than what the law requires. You can also carry other types of optional coverage such as:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – This coverage pays for serious or permanent injury or death that you cause others to suffer in a crash. Your insurance company will also provide legal representation for you if the other driver sues you.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) – This insurance supplements PIP coverage by protecting you if you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver who does not have BIL insurance or by a hit-and-run driver who is never found. It also provides payment if another driver’s coverage is not enough to cover your losses (up to your policy’s limits).
- Collision – This insurance coverage pays the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident (minus the amount of the policy’s deductible). If you lease or finance your vehicle, your lender may require you to buy collision coverage.
- Comprehensive – This coverage pays for damage from an incident other than a collision such as a storm, flood, fire, vandalism or theft. It also comes with a deductible. As with collision coverage, if you lease or finance your vehicle, your lender may require you to buy comprehensive insurance coverage.
Dealing with Insurers After an Accident
After an accident, you must contact your insurer. You may also need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, many insurers will try to get away with paying you less than what you deserve. After all, they want to maximize their profits by minimizing the amount they lose in claims.
This is where an experienced car accident attorney at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm can help you. We investigate accidents, aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and pursue maximum compensation for our clients in every case we handle. To learn more about how we can help you after a car accident in Brooksville, Lutz or surrounding areas in Florida, contact us today. We will provide a free review of your case.