In Florida, the term “full coverage” car insurance mistakenly implies complete liability protection. The fact is that full coverage does not “fully” cover the insured. It provides the bare minimum protection required by Florida law to obtain a driver’s license.
Before you are involved in a serious accident or sustain severe bodily injuries, you can purchase additional coverage from collision, bodily injury, and uninsured motorist benefits that offer significantly more protection.
It is important to insure yourself against an inability to work, prohibitively expensive medical bills, and car repair expenses, which expose you to higher damages than the absolute minimum will cover.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Florida
You must have two types of minimum coverage car insurance options under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law:
Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP)
The state requires you to carry at least $10,000 of PIP coverage which may help to pay a percentage of your medical bills and/or lost wages. This will also cover up to $5,000 in death benefits regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
No-fault insurance also covers family members who suffer personal injuries while riding in another person’s car. Additionally, it protects you if you are injured as a pedestrian or cyclist hit by another vehicle.
Property Damage Liability (PDL)
If you damage someone else’s property in an accident, you must carry at least $10,000 in PDL coverage to protect you under Florida law. This coverage may include damage to another vehicle, fence, tree, mailbox, road sign, or building.
Property damage liability also covers medical, surgical, funeral, and disability benefits. In accidents resulting in a “total loss,” PDL will cover a portion of the replacement cost.
A Florida licensed insurance company must issue proof of PIP/PDL coverage.
What Does “Full” Coverage Insurance Fail to Cover?
Despite a level of guaranteed protection, mandatory minimum insurance has severe limitations. In addition to quickly reaching PIP and PDL limits that may leave you with significant medical debt and a loss of personal assets, you are also vulnerable to a lawsuit from the other driver if you are at fault. Without additional coverage, you may not be protected in the following situations:
When a driver leaves the scene of an accident illegally, the victim does not have the hit-and-run driver’s insurance information to file a claim for damages. The law treats the hit-and-run driver as an uninsured motorist.
Auto Theft and Vandalism
Your insurance will not cover you if your car is stolen or vandalized without comprehensive insurance coverage with the required minimum coverage in the state.
Personal Car Repairs
Mandatory minimum insurance does not pay for repairs to your car after a crash but rather damage to the other person’s car in limited circumstances.
“Acts of God”
Natural disasters, animal damages, falling objects, and fires are not protected under the required minimum coverage.
Auto Insurance Coverage You May Need to Fill the Gap
Complete full coverage requires planning and purchasing sufficient insurance before an accident occurs. In addition to PIP and PDL coverage, you may want to investigate the following optional coverage to ensure your protection:
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
In Florida, drivers aren’t required to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. However, it protects you if you have a car accident in which people are injured or killed due to your negligence. Despite the state’s no-fault system, you could still be sued for injuries your PIP insurance fails to cover.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)
Uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage can be used when you or your family members did not cause the accident. With this coverage, you can ensure you have enough insurance to cover your injuries in an auto accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured (has no insurance) or underinsured (does not have enough insurance). While this coverage does not pay for your car, it can cover medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and damages for pain and suffering.
Collision insurance is based on the age and value of your car. If a collision with another vehicle or object led to your accident, it covers damage to your automobile. Even if you were at fault for the accident, you could receive this coverage.
Comprehensive car insurance helps cover damages to your vehicle that a collision did not cause, whether or not a crash occurred. Coverage includes vandalism, auto theft, windshield repairs, fire, animals, and “acts of nature” common in Florida, such as hail storms, lightning, floods, and hurricane damage.
Medical Payment Coverage or MedPay
Many insurance policies offer an additional elective provision called MedPay, or Medical Payment Coverage. MedPay ensures that 100% of your medical bills are paid up to a specific coverage limit, while PIP pays only 80% of the first $10,000 in medical bills.
Determining the amount of each type of coverage to purchase will depend on your budget and circumstances. You can find the amount of protection you need with premiums you can afford by shopping around for a policy.
How Can I Save Money on Car Insurance in Florida?
Affordable car insurance is hard to come by in any state. If you are looking for the cheapest car insurance rates on full coverage auto insurance in Florida, you can do a few things.
- Shop around and compare rates from different insurers
- Make sure you are getting all the discounts you are eligible for
- Consider raising your deductible to lower your premium
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for for your auto insurance policy. Cheap car insurance may save you money upfront.
Still, if you don’t have enough auto insurance coverage in the event of an accident, you may have difficulty finding coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages.
Can I Sue For a Car Accident?
You can sue a driver who caused an accident if:
- Your damages exceed the limit of your PIP coverage
- You suffered permanent injury
Damages You Can Recover in a Car Accident Claim
In Florida, there are two types of damages that you can recover: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the financial losses you suffer due to an accident. They include things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. If you are suing someone for economic damages, you will need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident and that you suffered financial losses.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are damages that are not financial in nature. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
You do not need to prove financial losses to recover non-economic damages. Instead, you will need to show that the other party was at fault for the accident and that you suffered some non-financial loss.
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
How Negligence Impacts Your Ability to File a Claim
To prove that someone was negligent in Florida, you will need to show that they owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and harmed you as a result. The first step is to show that the other party owed you a duty of care. This means showing that they had a responsibility to act in a certain way to keep you safe. For example, all drivers have a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
The next step is to show that the other party breached their duty of care. This means showing that they failed to act in the way they were supposed to and that their actions (or inaction) led to your accident. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits you, they have breached their duty of care.
The last step is to show that you were harmed as a result of the other party’s negligence. This means showing that you suffered some type of loss because of the accident. For example, if you were injured in the accident, you would need a doctor to opine to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that your injuries were caused from the accident. Your medical bills will be used to prove the amount of your economic damages.
If you can prove all three of these things, you will likely be successful in your negligence claim. However, it is important to note that there are some defenses that the other party may raise in an attempt to avoid liability. For example, they may argue that you were partially at fault for the accident or that you assumed the risk of injury by getting into the car.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney For Your Claim
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we focus on helping you and your family recover. We pursue personal injury lawsuits, and wrongful death claims to obtain full compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost earnings, property damage, and more.
With over 21 years of experience, we draw on constant medical research to help clients recover after being injured in auto accidents in Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas. Founding personal injury attorney, Fran Haasch, is a lifetime member of the Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum and a member of the American Association for Justice, the Florida Justice Association, and the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association.
Our attorneys are skilled and experienced litigators. We are not afraid to take your lawsuit to trial if necessary. No matter how complicated your case, our firm is here to help you navigate the legal process from start to finish.
Contact a Tampa Bay Car Accident Lawyer
If you want full liability coverage in an accident, the experienced Tampa Bay car accident lawyers at The Fran Haasch Law Group can help. Through our decades of experience in litigating insurance claims, we help recover compensation for injured clients. Our car accident attorneys are committed to educating Florida residents about the limitations of their own policies and obtaining more extensive protection against liability. Call (727) 784-8191 or contact us online to get started on receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.