What type of insurance coverage should you have to protect you and your family?
Florida is considered a No-Fault state, making automobile insurance mandatory for people who own operable vehicles. Thus, when an insurance company says that you have full coverage, this only requires you to carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and property damage. This brief discussion will address other coverage available to you, which you should consider when purchasing insurance to better protect you and your family, in case of an unforeseen accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) /Florida No-Fault
Personal Injury Protection generally covers drivers up to $10,000.00 (remember you can always purchase more than $10,000.00 of coverage if you like). Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, PIP coverage pays 80 percent of your medical bills and/or 60 percent of your lost wages, after your deductible is met. Generally, deductibles are $2,000.00 (you also can choose the amount of deductible you wish to purchase; be careful of high deductibles). The deductible is the amount which must be paid for by you, before the insurance company is required to make any payments on your behalf. Even if you are a passenger in a car which is involved in an accident, your own insurance company will cover your lost wages and medical expenses if you are injured. If you are a passenger in a car and you do not own an operable vehicle, you would look to the insurance of the driver of the vehicle that you were in at the time of the accident, to get your medical expenses and lost wages covered.
Property Damage Insurance
This is mandatory coverage that all vehicles must have. This coverage would be available to fix or pay for any damage to property, such as cars, fences, light poles, or any other damage to property, which may occur as a result on the accident. Insurance companies generally provide up to $20,000.00 worth of coverage; however, you may purchase more property damage coverage, if you so wish, depending on your own particular circumstance.
Bodily Injury Coverage
This coverage can be purchased by you in order to help protect you, if you cause an accident and injure someone. This insurance would allow for the injured party to seek damages for their injuries from your insurance company, without suing you personally. Thus, this type of coverage is very important in protecting you and your family, especially if you are wealthy and have many assets you wish to protect. Florida law does not require you to carry Bodily Injury Coverage. For example, if you are hurt very badly while driving your car and the accident was caused 100 percent by the other driver, if they do not carry any Bodily Injury Coverage, you would not be able to present a claim to the at-fault driver's insurance company for payment as a result of your pain and suffering. Below, I will address how to protect against such an occurrence.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of coverage is very important and, in my opinion, should be purchased by all drivers. This type of coverage protects you and your family, should you be injured by an at-fault driver who has not purchased any Bodily Injury Coverage, or has purchased minimal amounts of Bodily Injury Coverage. Unfortunately, approximately 20-30 percent of all the drivers in Florida are driving without any automobile insurance coverage at all; therefore, if you are hit and injured by one of these people, it will be very difficult, or impossible, to collect money from them for your injuries, unless you purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
You may also consider stacking your Uninsured Motorist Insurance policy, if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same insurance company. Please contact your lawyer or insurance company for a more detailed explanation of all coverage available.
Medical Payment Insurance
This type of coverage will help pay for reasonable medical expenses, such as the 20 percent not covered by your PIP benefits. This coverage protects you even if you are a passenger in someone else's vehicle.
This type of insurance pays for damage to your car caused by impact with another automobile or object.
This type of coverage covers loss or damage to your car, resulting from fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage, and/or acts of God, like a hurricane or a bad storm.
Rental Car Insurance
This type of insurance is relatively cheap and will cover you in case your car is damaged and you need a car to get around while your car is being repaired or totaled out. You would be entitled to a comparable vehicle to the one you had insured through your insurance company for a reasonable length of time, while your vehicle issues are resolved.
You may have health insurance through your employment, or you may have purchased health insurance privately for you and your family, in case someone in the family gets sick with a cold, etc. Your personal or group health insurance may help pay the PIP deductible, and assist with paying the other 20 percent of the medical bills that PIP does not cover.
Finally, while purchasing automobile insurance can seem overwhelming and confusing, it is important to educate yourself on all the different types of coverage available to you; do not be afraid to ask questions of your insurance agent, the one whose job it is to help you purchase the right coverage for you and your loved ones, to protect them from an unforeseeable accident. Also, your lawyer is a great person to ask about coverage types and what is best for you.
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