The State of Florida requires certain minimum insurance coverages be in place before a vehicle can be registered and license plates issued. Most Florida drivers are aware of this, but may be unclear as to the exact coverages required, and their purpose.
Florida requires two types of coverage on every vehicle: $10,000 in personal injury protection, also known as PIP or “no-fault” coverage, and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. PIP coverage pays medical expenses for the policyholder, his or her family members, and any passengers who do not own their own vehicle. In the event of a fatal accident, $5,000 in death benefits is available under PIP coverage. This $5,000 is available even if the deceased exhausted the $10,000 PIP medical benefits before his or her death.
Unlike many states, Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury liability coverage, which pays damages for which the policyholder is liable when he or she causes injury or death to others in an accident. The insurance company will also provide an attorney to defend the policyholder in any lawsuit arising from the accident. A motorist without BIL coverage who is found at fault in an accident risks losing his or her assets if a judgment is obtained against them.
If a policyholder purchases BIL coverage the policy must include uninsured motorist coverage, unless the policyholder rejects the coverage in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage pays the policyholder for personal injury damages they have suffered at the hands of a negligent motorist who did not have adequate BIL coverage. If the policyholder is killed in the crash, wrongful death damages can be recovered under the uninsured motorist coverage.
In any wrongful death or serious personal injury case, one of the most important tasks is identifying all potential sources of recovery, including all insurance policies that may provide coverage. An experienced personal injury lawyer who understands insurance coverage issues can provide significant help to victims and their families.
Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “Vehicle Insurance Questions and Answers,” accessed June 19, 2016