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Florida Car Insurance Explained

Find out about the different kinds of insurance in Florida and know which ones are required and most important.

There are seven basic kinds of car insurance in Florida: 1) personal injury protection (PIP), 2) property damage liability (PD), 3) bodily injury liability (BI), 4) uninsured motorist (UM), 5) medical payments coverage, 6) collision coverage, and 7) comprehensive coverage.  Each kind of insurance is designed to cover different things.  PIP, BI, UM, and medical payments coverage are designed to pay for injuries and lost wages.  PD, collision, and comprehensive are designed to pay for damage to property.  Only PIP and PD are required by Florida law.

Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is designed to pay for personal injuries to you and your immediate family (and certain other people), regardless of fault.  PIP insurance also covers your lost wages.  PIP insurance is required by Florida law.  Florida Statute 627.736, titled "Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law," describes the rights and requirements for PIP coverage.  No matter who is responsible for causing the accident, your PIP insurance is designed to pay for your injuries and your family's injuries.  PIP insurance used to cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000.  However, in the last legislative session, our Florida Legislature changed the PIP law and eliminated your benefits unless you seek treatment within 14 days after an accident.  Even if you seek treatment within 14 days, your benefits are reduced to only $2,500 unless you are diagnosed with an "emergency medical condition."  You still have to pay for $10,000 in PIP insurance, but you may receive no benefits or only $2,500 in benefits in many circumstances.  This law is terrible for the citizens of Florida, but it's great for insurance companies.  To see which Florida senators voted for this terrible law, click here.  To see which Florida representatives voted for this terrible law, click here.  Many of the legislators who voted for this law are still in office and should be voted out of office as soon as possible.

Property damage liability (PD) insurance is designed to pay for damage caused by you to other people's property.  PD insurance is required by Florida law.  If you cause an accident, then your PD insurance is supposed to protect you by paying for the property damage you caused.  The most common property damage is damage to the other person's car or motorcycle, but it also covers damage to buildings, telephone poles, and anything else that might be damaged in a car accident.  Your PD insurance does not pay for damage to your car; it only covers damage to other people's property.  If the other person was at fault for the accident, then his or her PD insurance should pay for the damage to your car.  However, as many as 3 out of 10 drivers in Florida do not carry PD insurance, even though it is required by law.  To properly protect your car from damage, you should purchase collision insurance.

Bodily injury liability (BI) insurance is designed to pay for injuries caused by you to other people.  BI insurance is not required by Florida law under most circumstances.  If you cause an accident, then your BI insurance is supposed to protect you by paying for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering of other people.  Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not automatically pay other people for the injuries you cause.  Virtually all insurance companies require an injured person to submit a demand (and sign a release) before they are willing to pay for a person's injuries under BI coverage.  This delay tactic by insurance companies usually results in an injured person accumulating a lot of medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses over several months or years.  This delay tactic by insurance companies also can cause an injured person to lose their home and their credit because of an inability to work and lost income.  Retaining an attorney to pursue appropriate compensation as quickly as possible may avoid a large accumulation of medical bills and lost earnings.

Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance is designed to pay for injuries suffered by you due to the negligence of others.  UM insurance is not required by Florida law, but it is the most valuable kind of insurance you can buy.  If you are injured in an accident that is not your fault, then your UM insurance is there to protect you by paying for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  UM insurance can be "stacked" or "non-stacked."  Stacked UM is better because you are entitled to coverage equal to your base UM coverage multiplied by the number of cars on your policy.  UM insurance only pays out if the person who caused the accident had no BI insurance or not enough BI insurance.  Virtually all insurance companies require you to submit a demand (and sign a release) before they are willing to pay you for your injuries.  This delay tactic by insurance companies usually results in you accumulating a lot of medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses over several months or years.  This delay tactic by insurance companies also can cause you to lose your home and your credit because of an inability to work and lost income.  Retaining an attorney to pursue appropriate compensation as quickly as possible may avoid a large accumulation of medical bills and lost earnings.

For more information, please visit our website: www.PinellasAccidentLawyers.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Torrey Craig December 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Thanks for a most informative article on car insurance.

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