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Insurance: What You Need to Know

Insurance is a contract between two private parties (individual and insurance company). The individual (you) makes a payment (premium) to the insurance company in exchange for the insurance company assuming your future risk for specific events, amounts and time period. In the case of car insurance, your insurance company pays you or a 3rd party should their be losses due to a vehicle accident or other covered event.

Florida Law

Florida law requires certain minimum mandatory vehicle insurance coverages including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PD) for all owners or registrants of a vehicle in Florida for 90 days or longer in a 365 day period. Mandatory coverage is required even if the vehicle is not in use. Florida does not issue or renew a license tag or registration without proof of PIP and PD. Failure to carry the minimum insurance coverages may result in cancellation of vehicle registration and driver’s license, fines and a $10,000 set off against you should you become injured by another driver’s fault. While BI (Bodily Injury) is not required to obtain your tag, failure to obtain BI coverage may result in a money judgment against you which may last 20 years.

Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law of 1955 (F.S. 324.011-324.251) requires that you maintain a minimum of $10,000 coverage for bodily injury to, or death of, one person in any one crash and $20,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one crash, if you were previously found at fault for an accident where someone suffered bodily injuries and you are unable to pay for their injuries.

Understanding insurance coverages is important to ascertaining your overall risks at a time of loss. Below are coverages available to you in Florida:

Personal Injury Protection

(PIP) compensates medical providers who provide reasonable and medically necessary services to YOU, your passengers and some third parties, if they qualify. In addition, it pays for sixty percent of loss wages, mileage to and from the medical treating facility and death benefits. Florida law requires that your PIP policy covers at least $10,000 in coverage. (See F.S. 627.736) Click to learn more about PIP benefits and who qualifies under Florida law.

Property Damage Liability

(PD) compensates individuals other than yourself whose property i.e. vehicle or other property is damaged  resulting from an accident for which you are found negligent or otherwise at fault. In most cases, but not all, the  policy provides you with a legal defense which is paid by the insurance carrier. Florida requires that all drivers carry Property Damage Liability. Minimum coverage required for private motor vehicles is $10,000 for damage to, or destruction of, property of others in any one crash. See (F.S. 324.021 (7)(c)).

Bodily Injury Liability

(BI) compensates individuals other than yourself who suffer bodily injuries or death resulting from an accident for which you are found negligent or otherwise at fault. In most cases, but not all, the  policy provides you with a legal defense which is paid by the insurance carrier. See (F.S. 324.021 (7)(a) &(b)).

Uninsured Motorist 

(UM or UMBI) compensates YOU for your bodily injuries and, in some circumstances, certain property damage caused by an uninsureda hit-and-run driver or in cases where the at fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage for your bodily injuries or property losses. In other words, if the other party who is found to be negligent or otherwise at fault for the accident and either does not have any insurance, or has insufficient insurance coverage, or hits you and runs then your insurance carrier pays YOU and goes after the other driver.

Comprehensive Coverage

(Comp) compensates YOU for your vehicle damages caused by  fire, theft, vandalism, hail storm damage or any natural causes. It is also pays for glass breakage or if you run into an animal on the roadway.

Collision Coverage

(Collision) compensates YOU when your car crashes, or is hit by, another vehicle, or other object. It pays to repair your vehicle.

Medical Payment Coverage

(Med Pay) compensates the medical facilities that provide YOU with medical services i.e. Hospital, clinics, etc. once your PIP benefits are exhausted.  Unlike benefits payed under PIP, any moneys recovered from at fault parties are subject to a lien for the amount of  benefits payed by Med Pay.

There are various other factors including type of vehicle, purpose of vehicle use or whether you previously had been involved in an accident that may require no minimum insurance coverage or carry a much higher minimum coverage provisions.

Ask a Lawyer

If you are involved in an accident,  you do not know what insurance coverages are available to you then you need to contact one of the attorneys at AskMyAttorneys at 954-961-5100 in Broward or 1-877-961-5100 toll free anywhere else in Florida.

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