In the state of Florida, if you own a vehicle with at least four wheels and are registering it, you must have Florida insurance. Any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage.  Since it is required, if you’re a driver in Florida, it would be prudent to understand a few key elements of Florida’s auto insurance laws.
Florida is a “No-Fault” Car Insurance State
Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state, as it relates to the payment of auto insurance claims after a car accident. In a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry auto insurance that pays personal injury protection, or PIP, benefits. PIP benefits in the policy pay for any medical expenses and certain non-medical-related costs when the policyholder suffers an accident. Non-medical-related costs could include lost wages or the costs of hiring someone to do household chores. These are known as “replacement benefits”.
Florida requires that all drivers carry minimum PIP benefits in their policies. Procedurally, when a crash occurs, each person involved in the crash turns to his or her own policy to pay the costs of medical care and other losses associated with the accident. These PIP benefits kick in regardless of who was at fault in the accident. By contrast, in an “at-fault” insurance state (also known as a “fault” or “tort liability” state), drivers have the choice to file claims with their own insurers, file claims with another driver’s insurer, or take the other driver to court to prove he or she was the one at fault.
Florida drivers can only step outside of the state’s no-fault system — and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver directly — if the injuries resulting from the accident are considered “permanent.” This includes but is not limited to significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida drivers are required to carry the following minimum insurance:
$10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and
$10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) benefits.
Unlike most other U.S. states, Florida does not require drivers to have bodily injury liability (BI) benefits. BI pays for death or serious and permanent injury to others when you are legally liable for those damages. If an insured is sued, the insurer will provide legal representation. As previously stated, all auto insurance policies must be purchased from insurers licensed to do business in Florida. Driving without insurance in Florida is illegal, and a driver may have his or her license suspended if caught driving without at least the minimum required insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Florida
Another type of coverage that could prove useful but that is not required by Florida drivers is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM). This type of coverage must be offered by an insurer at the time a policy is purchased in Florida, but the purchaser can reject UM coverage, however, this declination must be in writing. UM coverage pays additional PIP benefits if a policyholder is hit by a driver who does not have any insurance (uninsured) or who does not have enough insurance to cover the costs of the policyholder’s medical bills and other damages.  In future blog posts I plan to go into further detail about the advantages of UM coverage in Florida.
If you have been in an auto accident, the best thing you can do is seek the help of an experienced attorney. At Kovar Law Group we are well-versed in dealing with these issues and are proficient in gathering the required evidence to secure the best outcome possible. Schedule a free consultation with Kovar Law Group today.