What Forms of Insurance Do Auto Mobile Owners Need in Florida?
Do You Need Car Insurance in Florida?
Automobile owners in Florida are required by law to carry car insurance coverage that meets at least the state minimum requirements. The only mandatory forms of insurance are personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL). Florida car insurance laws do not require bodily injury liability coverage, but it’s a great idea to carry it.
Florida as a No-Fault State
The Sunshine State is one of a handful of no-fault states in the country. In a no-fault state, each person purchases car insurance for their own benefit. When a car accident occurs, the victim must file a claim with their own insurance company to recover compensation—regardless of who caused the accident.
This is different from at-fault states, where the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for the victim’s expenses. With PIP, even a driver who causes an accident can get medical care after a crash.
Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida requires a minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage to register a car and drive it on public roads. The amount is referred to as the “minimum limits” and is simply the lowest amount of coverage you can carry legally. Under the Florida Financial Responsibility Law, drivers should carry:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
- $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) coverage
Before receiving a valid registration for a vehicle with at least four wheels, you must provide proof of PIP and PDL auto insurance coverage. Florida’s minimum PIP and PDL coverage applies to any vehicle driven in the state for more than 90 days in a year.
Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection insurance pays for your medical expenses and lost wages if you’re unable to work. PIP in Florida only covers 80% of the cost of care. If you sustain injuries in a car accident, you’ll have to pay for the remaining 20% out-of-pocket or with your health insurance. So, if you have injuries that cost $9,000, PIP will only pay for $7,200 of that.
PIP insurance will cover the following medical costs:
- Doctor’s visits and medical exams
- Emergency medical services
- Ambulance rides
- Diagnostic tests
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
PIP insurance won’t provide coverage for medical treatments that are considered non-essential, such as massage therapy and acupuncture. If your injury is not considered an emergency medical condition (one that presents itself with acute symptoms of sufficient severity), you’ll only be entitled to $2,500 in benefits.
If you are unable to work due to your injuries, Florida PIP will pay for 60% of your lost income up to the policy limit. This will also cover the costs of paying someone to complete the tasks you cannot handle on your own.
If the policyholder is killed in a car crash, PIP would pay up to $5,000 for their funeral and burial expenses.
Each part of the limit counts towards the $10,000 maximum amount that the insurance provider will pay out per accident. Coverage also extends to people in your household and passengers in your car, unless they carry their own policy.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) in Florida
If you are at fault in an accident, the term “liability” in property damage liability coverage means you are liable for the damage to another person’s property.For example, if you run a red light and hit another driver, PDL coverage would pay for repairs to the other vehicle. If you carry the minimum of $10,000, you’ll be personally liable for any damage that goes over that amount.
Property under PDL coverage can also include, but is not limited to, homes, buildings, lamp posts, traffic signs, mailboxes, fences, trees, or telephone poles.
Note that damage to your own car or personal property is not covered by property damage liability insurance. Also, PDL won’t pay for damages if the at-fault driver caused the accident intentionally or while committing a felony, or if the individual operating the automobile did not have the permission of the owner.
The Right to Sue After a Car Accident
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, injured parties can still sue if injured in a car accident. When a victim’s injuries are severe or permanent and the medical expenses and/or lost income exceed the limits of PIP coverage, they can sue the at-fault driver for losses.
This makes it smart to buy additional coverage, which will pay these claims up to the policy limit. Otherwise, you can be left with high out-of-pocket costs if you’re involved in an accident.
Important non-mandatory coverages to have include:
- Bodily injury liability coverage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- Collision coverage
- Gap coverage
- Medical payment coverage
Florida Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Drivers who operate a motor vehicle without maintaining the required insurance in Florida can face steep penalties. Your vehicle license and registration could be suspended for up to 3 years or until proof of insurance is provided. Your reinstatement fee could range between $150 and $500, depending on whether you are a repeat offender.
It’s worth noting that there are no provisions for any kind of temporary or hardship driver’s license for failure to maintain proper insurance.
Get Help with Your Florida Auto Insurance Claim
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and your insurance carrier is not providing you coverage as specified under your policy, we invite you to speak with a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. We can help you navigate the claims process and get the compensation you need and deserve. Our injury lawyers can also help you bring a claim for damages against the other driver.