I Was in a Car Accident in Florida, and I’m Confused About the Different Insurances
Florida’s car accident insurance laws are different from many other states. In fact, Florida is the only state out of 50 that does not require some form of Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance for the average driver. Like 11 other states in the Union, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning drivers carry their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover the majority of minor crash injuries.
Knowing about how all of the different types of insurance in Florida can be a huge advantage in the aftermath of a car accident. By knowing what forms of compensation are available, you and a Tampa car accident lawyer can seek the maximum damages to, hopefully, recover all of your losses.
The next time you’re in an accident, take a moment to review all of the most important types of insurance below.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) “No-Fault” Insurance
A “no-fault” state insurance scheme means that anyone hurt in an accident can file a PIP claim under their own insurance — or the most appropriate driver’s. In other states, unless you have a policy add-on known as Medical Payments (MedPay), you will need to file under someone else’s liability insurance in the aftermath of a collision. Before you can do so, though, you have to prove that they were liable, or “at fault”.
In the event that you’re unable to establish that someone else was at fault in these other states, you are unfortunately left paying for the costs of your own injuries using health insurance or out-of-pocket funds.
In Florida, when you are hurt and your injuries are considered a medical emergency, PIP will cover 80% of medical costs up to the $10,000 coverage limit. For non-emergencies, only a maximum of $2,500 is available. PIP insurance also covers up to 60% of replacement wages in the event you’re too hurt to return to work, or if you can only return to work in a lower-earning role. Unlike liability insurance, PIP will not cover damages related to personal pain and suffering.
As you can see, there are many gaps in PIP coverage that can still leave someone who is seriously hurt with lots of unpaid expenses. In these cases, it is important to know about the other forms of insurance available, especially Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance
When you have BIL insurance, it covers anyone hurt in an accident where you are deemed at fault. 38 states in America use BIL almost exclusively in the event of a crash, meaning that injured persons must prove that the BIL policyholder was at fault before they are able to claim damages on the policy.
Florida is the only state in the country to not require BIL insurance when you are a registered vehicle owner. It does, however, require BIL insurance for all commercial vehicles and for individuals with certain crash-related violations on their driving record. Vehicle owners can also decide to get BIL insurance voluntarily (although many do not).
When someone has a serious injury in Florida or an injury that exceeds their PIP coverage, they are able to seek a BIL claim against any and all at-fault drivers who contributed to the accident.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) Insurance
Florida does require PDL coverage for all registered vehicle owners. Similar to BIL coverage, a PDL policy pays for the costs of damages the policyholder causes to other vehicles in a wreck where they are at fault. Alongside PIP coverage, all vehicle owners in Florida are required to carry at least $10,000 in PDL.
Note that PIP’s “no fault” arrangement only applies to medical costs. If you have damages to your vehicle you need to be repaired, you will need to prove that someone else was at fault in order to file under their PDL policy.
Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
A UM/UIM policy add-on provides you with coverage in the event you are hit by a driver who does not have their own liability coverage, or if your damages exceed the coverage available under the policy limits.
In a state where one in five drivers have no insurance at all, UM/UIM is a critical safety net. This coverage kicks in after an accident, and it allows your insurer to cover the costs that would normally be covered under someone else’s liability policy. UM/UIM is particularly important in Florida because drivers are legally allowed to not have BIL coverage.
Notably, UM/UIM can also cover you under certain hit-and-run scenarios — which are all-too-common in Florida.
Other Forms of Self-Insurance
All of the insurance policies below are designed to cover you in the event that you’re involved in an accident. Note that filing under your own insurance policies compared to someone’s liability policy is less desirable because it will increase your rates and could also lead to significant out-of-pocket expenses.
Comprehensive coverage is meant to cover you in nearly every situation where something other than your own actions or another driver’s caused an accident. Examples include extreme weather, hail, theft, vandalism, catastrophes, and other situations. Notably, comprehensive insurance is most likely to be used when your vehicle is damaged while it is parked since these are the situations where so-called “acts of God” or criminal acts are most likely to cause the damage.
Collision insurance provides coverage for repairing your vehicle when you have caused the damage or the damage isn’t otherwise covered by another policy. A good rule of thumb is that collision coverage applies when nothing else will.
A collision policy will almost always come with a deductible. A deductible is an amount you will pay out-of-pocket in your accident, and it can also be thought of as the minimum amount of damage needed before you can file a claim. For example, if you have a $1,500 deductible, then you will require at least $1,501 in damages before you can file, and only that extra amount that exceeds the deductible will be claimable.
Medical Payments (MedPay)
MedPay is a form of self-insurance that covers your own medical costs in the event of an accident. In no-fault states, MedPay can be thought of as a supplement to PIP since it works almost the exact same way.
Personal/Private/Group/Public Health Insurance
Your own health insurance coverage will provide the last level of protection from injury costs. Whether you have group insurance from your employer, private health insurance from a company like Humana, or public insurance from a program like Medicare, you can file under these policies in the event you are hurt and have no other forms of coverage available.
Naturally, it is undesirable to use your own health insurance because it can affect your own policy premiums and other factors. The ideal situation is that you are able to obtain coverage from a combination of BIL, PIP, and other forms of insurance so that you can rely on your health insurance for other medical needs.
Talk to a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer for Help Navigating Insurance Claims
Insurance claims can be confusing, and insurers are likely to do you no favors when it comes to explaining everything. Many times, an insurer will behave like you aren’t able to use the type of coverage you want, especially if you are filing a liability claim.
Rather than trust insurers to steer you in the right direction, get your own attorney. When you are injured, a Tampa car accident lawyer at Darrigo & Diaz can represent you on claims, identify all liable parties, and fight on your behalf for the maximum coverage to repay all of your damages.
All of these services come at no up-front costs, and you don’t pay unless you are able to recover some form of settlement. Learn more about how a Tampa attorney can help during a free, no-obligation case review when you call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.