As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to review your Florida auto insurance policies. We often hear from clients and friends that they don’t really understand or even know what coverages they have. You may even renew your policy every six months without looking at your policy documents. That could be a mistake, especially if you’ve had a change in your life circumstances.
A lot can happen in a year that affects what type of insurance coverage you need. Some of these things include:
- Getting married or divorced
- Children leaving home or going off to college
- Children, relatives, or a friend moving into your home
- Using your vehicle for a new business
- Moving to a new state
These are just a few examples of things that can trigger changes in your auto insurance coverage. That’s why a yearly review of your policies is so important. The worst time to review your coverage is after an accident, and you learn that because of a change in your circumstances, you don’t have enough coverage or the right type of coverage.
Here are a few common types of auto insurance coverage you need to consider:
Motor vehicle owners in Florida are required to purchase PIP, or personal injury protection, coverage. PIP pays 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, regardless of who caused the injury. This includes medically necessary medical, surgical, x-ray, dental, rehabilitative, and hospital services, including ambulances, hospitals, and nursing care.
Did you know an individual must receive initial medical services within 14 days of a motor vehicle accident to qualify for PIP coverage? The amount of your PIP coverage ($10,000 or $2500) may depend on whether the individual is diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” and has been diagnosed by a qualified doctor. Moreover, PIP pays a 60 percent of lost wages as a result of an injury and a $5,000 death benefit if the accident is fatal.
Property Damage coverage (PD) provides coverage for damages you, the insured, may be liable for if you damage another person’s property. The state of Florida requires that drivers carry at least $10,000 in property damage coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability (or BI coverage) pays for death or serious and permanent injury to others if the insured is determined to be at fault for the accident. In the event the at-fault party carries BI coverage, your claim will be made against that policy. Unfortunately, this coverage is optional in Florida (most states require at least some minimum amount of BI coverage).
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage pays for injuries sustained in a car wreck if the at-fault party has no bodily injury (BI) coverage or doesn’t have enough to cover the full amount.
In Florida, many drivers are uninsured, so this coverage is optional but highly recommended.
Regardless of who caused the accident, collision coverage pays for repairs or the actual cash value of your vehicle if it collides with another vehicle. Using your collision coverage will be necessary if the at-fault party doesn’t have Property Damage (PD) coverage. This coverage is optional.
Comprehensive coverage protects your car against damage caused by incidents besides collisions such as fires, theft, windstorms, vandalism, and floods.
Rental Car Reimbursement
Rental reimbursement helps cover the cost of renting a car while your vehicle is being repaired after a covered accident or loss.
With so many auto insurance carriers competing for your business, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best rates. Although we can’t give you specific legal advice about your coverage unless you’re a client, if you have questions after an accident, please contact us and we’d be happy to review your coverage with you. For advice about your specific insurance needs, be sure to talk with an independent insurance agent about your policy.