Can Saving $20 A Month on Auto Insurance Cost you $10,000 Or Much,
Much More In the Event of an Accident?
Most Definitely, YES!!!!!!
There is no question that vehicle insurance is not an intriguing topic that stimulates your interest. HOWEVER, education in this area could reward you and your family substantially. PLEASE take the time to read and understand this article, and then apply your knowledge to improving your own auto insurance policy.
NO FAULT INSURANCE (PIP)
Auto insurance law in Florida requires the owner of a vehicle to have $10,000 of personal injury protection insurance coverage. BUT, you can purchase greater amounts of PIP insurance to cover medical, funeral or disability benefits. This insurance coverage is known as the “no-fault insurance”.
In “fault” states, the time and litigation necessary to settle with the “at fault” driver’s insurance company can take years and require costly court battles. In Florida, under the no fault insurance law, if you are hurt in an accident, your own insurance (Personal Injury Protection, sometimes called PIP) pays 80% of your reasonable medical expenses related to injuries caused by your vehicle accident, and 60% of your lost earnings regardless of who caused the accident. Imagine if you purchase minimum benefits and then are seriously injured and require surgery and lengthy recovery time from work. The minimum benefits may only cover a small portion of your bills.
If you are killed in a car accident, your own PIP or no-fault insurance pays a death benefit for funeral or burial expenses as well. This amount is typically only $5,000.00.
If you are a family member, no-fault insurance may also cover members in your household who do not have their own no fault insurance policy. PIP or no fault coverage may also pay benefits to your family members even if they are hurt in an accident in someone else’s vehicle or if stuck by a vehicle as a pedestrian.
However, a PIP or no fault policy will not provide benefits to someone who owns their own vehicle but does not insure it with PIP as required by Florida law. Therefore it is critical that you obey the law and carry this coverage for at least the minimum amount of $10,000.00.
LIMITS TO NO FAULT INSURANCE
Remember that PIP or No Fault insurance alone is not enough to cover you and your family. PIP does not pay for 1) repairs to your vehicle; 2) repairs to another person’s vehicle; 3) replacement of your vehicle or its contents; 4) medical bills , wage loss or death benefits in excess of your no fault policy limit or 5) any non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
You can easily see that when you have only the minimum insurance required by Florida law that you have nowhere near FULL insurance coverage. Essential insurance coverages for you to obtain to be properly protected include bodily injury liability, uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, and comprehensive/collision coverage.
BODILY INJURY COVERAGE
If you are injured by the negligence of another, you can make a claim against the bodily injury liability coverage of the negligent party. Likewise, if you are at fault and another party is injured, they can make a claim against you for their damages, which in the absence of bodily liability coverage, can expose your personal assets to risk. Bodily injury is considered to be sickness, disease, injury or death caused by a vehicle accident. Imagine if you injure another person due to an accident and that person has to be in the hospital for just one week. The medical bills alone can be tens of thousands of dollars. It is important to purchase enough bodily injury liability coverage to protect your family’s personal assets.
UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
Another coverage that is voluntary but SHOULD absolutely be purchased is uninsured and underinsured motorist. This may be the single most important coverage in the State of Florida. This protects you against the negligence of another party who either does not carry liability insurance or does not carry enough coverage to fully compensate you for your injuries when they are at fault. Remember, in Florida, bodily injury liability coverage is not required, only PIP and property damage. Therefore, when you carry this coverage you are protecting yourself against the large number of people who either carry minimum coverages or no insurance at all.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE
Another optional form of coverage is medical payments. Medical payments, or Med-Pay, pays for the medical expenses not covered by Personal Injury Protection Insurance. This coverage is generally available to the insured driver and any passengers in the insured vehicle regardless of fault. Med Pay coverage is a good “gap insurance” to purchase along with your PIP.
Collision is another voluntary coverage but provides for the repair or replacement of your vehicle after an accident regardless of who is at fault. An innocent party may make a claim under his own collision coverage or the at fault party’s property liability damage. Comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs from damage to your vehicle due to fire or theft among other reasons.
Remember, Florida has one of the lowest legally required insurance coverages for vehicle owners of nearly any of the other states.
NEVER, NEVER believe that this minimum will afford you adequate coverage. Your minimum legally required PIP coverage will not pay for many of the benefits described in the above sections. When you shop for insurance, the lowest price for reasonable full coverage benefits should be your goal, not just the lowest price. DRIVE SAFE.