12 Jul 2021
5 Changes Tampa Bay Residents Should Consider Making to Their Auto Insurance in 2021 to Stay Protected and Lower Costs
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
If you live in Tampa Bay, it may be time to review your auto insurance policy
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed Senate Bill 54, which would have rewritten the state’s auto insurance laws by doing away with the “no-fault” provision. Therefore, Florida will remain a “no-fault” state, which means that if you are injured in an auto accident, you must go through your own insurance policy to cover damages and medical bills even if you didn’t cause the accident.
But this can be an issue. In the 25+ years that we have been representing auto accident victims in Tampa Bay, we have seen countless individuals and families financially burdened because they didn’t have the appropriate auto insurance policy or sufficient coverage.
So, if you live in Tampa Bay or the surrounding areas, take a minute to review our top 5 recommendations for changes to make to your auto insurance policy this year.
1. Check to see if your auto insurance policy supports your current needs.
Is your teenager about to get his or her learner’s permit? Do you now work full-time from home? Did you reduce your auto insurance coverage because you weren’t driving as much during COVID? Now as more people return to Tampa Bay’s roadways, it’s a good time to review your policy. Whatever your situation, make sure your policy has sufficient coverage.
2. Avoid getting the minimum amount of insurance coverage, as it could cost you more in the long run.
Some drivers believe they are saving money if they get the minimum amount of insurance required. (In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL)). However, bare minimum policies can actually cost you more if you are ever seriously injured in an auto accident.
As mentioned previously, Florida is a no-fault state, which means you must use your own insurance to cover damages and medical bills if you are ever injured in an auto accident. But if your policy only covers up to $10,000 for medical expenses—which can easily be the cost of one emergency room visit—then you may have to pay out of pocket. We highly recommend adding additional coverage to your auto insurance policy. Typically, you can increase coverage for just a few extra dollars each month.
3. Add uninsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy.
Did you know that Florida has more uninsured drivers than any other state? Approximately 1 out of 4 drivers in Florida did not have auto insurance.
If you are injured in an accident and your own insurance will not cover all of your damages and medical bills, you must file a claim against the at-fault driver. But if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, you may be responsible for paying for your car repairs, medical bills, and lost wages out of pocket—unless you have underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
We encourage all of our clients to carry at least 100K of UM coverage. You can learn more about UM coverage here.
4. Consider increasing your deductible.
Your deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket when you file a claim with your auto insurance. Depending on your driving record, the age of your vehicle, and how many drivers use one car, you could save money on premiums by raising it.
Think of it as a pay-now-or-pay-later situation. If you haven’t filed a claim with your auto insurance for a while, increasing your deductible (for example, from $250 to $500) can be a significant cost-saver on premiums. But, only increase your deductible payment to an amount that you can comfortably afford.
5. Check for discounts.
Although we recommend adding coverage to your policy, we also recommend asking your agent about discounts that may be available to you. For instance, some car insurance companies offer discounts for safe drivers or for individuals who take safe driving courses. And, ask about bundling options if you have home or renter’s insurance with the same company.
What to do if you are injured in a car accident in Tampa by an uninsured driver.
Call us immediately at 813-437-5523
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney with local expertise and direct experience settling hundreds of challenging accident cases at the highest value for accident victims and their families in the Tampa Bay area.
And, if you prefer to not visit our office, you don’t have to! As Tampa’s e-firm, we offer potential and existing clients the option to meet with us and hire over the phone, via video conferencing, or through email.