What type of coverage does your motor vehicle insurance provide? These are the most common types of vehicle insurance:
- Property Damage Liability: Coverage for if you damage someone else’s vehicle or other property.
- Comprehensive: Coverage for damage to your own vehicle (i.e. hail or vandalism).
- Bodily Injury Liability: Coverage for if you injure someone else.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Coverage for the first 80% of your medical expenses and/or 60% of your lost wages due to a motor vehicle accident.
- Uninsured / Underinsured (UM/UIM): Coverage for your own personal injury claim against the at-fault driver if that driver has no, or insufficient, Bodily Injury Liability insurance.
Unfortunately, a lot of Florida drivers carry very low limits of insurance – and no Bodily Injury Liability coverage at all. Florida insurance requirements only mandate motorists to carry $10,000 in Property Damage Liability and $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Amazingly, there is no requirement for drivers to purchase Bodily Injury Liability coverage. In other words, Florida requires people to be insured for denting someone’s car door – but not for seriously injuring someone.
The legislative thought process behind this is that lawmakers believe that the $10,000 in PIP should pay for your injuries. However, this is a fantasy. In as little as one emergency room visit, the $10,000 in PIP can be gone in a flash. Who pays for your other injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills and loss of income? The at-fault driver is potentially liable. But, what good is a judgment against someone with no Bodily Injury Liability insurance and no money?
Fortunately, drivers have the ability to purchase optional uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. All insurance carriers are required to offer you UM/UIM coverage. Do not waive this important coverage. This type of insurance kicks-in to cover your injuries above and beyond what PIP and the other driver’s Bodily Injury Liability insurance (if any) can cover.
Understanding the Process
You have been in a motor vehicle accident. What now? First, within 14 days, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. This will cover the initial, basic expenses. Then you may also file a claim against the other driver who caused the injuries. If that driver is uninsured or has insufficient limits to pay for all of your damages and medical bills, then you can turn to your own UM/UIM policy for additional coverage. You are essentially buying insurance coverage for your own injuries when the person who hit you did not buy enough insurance to properly compensate you. UM/UIM insurance is extremely beneficial in the event of a hit-and-run driver, uninsured motorist or stolen vehicle causing your injuries. We recommend that everyone carry UM/UIM coverage.
If you have any personal injury or insurance issues, please give us a call. We are here to help guide you through the process to make sure you are protected.