Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. // Basics of Florida Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage

car-insurance-policyFlorida law requires every owner or registrant of an operable personal use motor vehicle to maintain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) – Liability insurance. See Florida Statute 627.733 Required security. While other types of coverage are available under the standard Florida motor vehicle insurance policy, these are the only two that are mandatory. While a premium is charged for the other types of coverage, the value can be worthwhile. For example, the minimum mandatory coverage (PIP & PD – Liability) does not prevent the at-fault insured from losing driving privileges when an accident involves injuries. Bodily Injury (BI) insurance does.

Here is a summary of the various types of coverage available under the standard Florida motor vehicle insurance policy:

Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
This coverage is outlined in Florida Statute 627.736. For in-state accidents, PIP covers the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured motor vehicle, passengers in such motor vehicle, and other persons struck by such motor vehicle while not occupying a self-propelled vehicle. For out-of-state accidents occurring within the U.S. and Canada, PIP covers the named insured and resident relatives if occupying a listed vehicle. Remember this: Out-of-state, out-of-vehicle, out-of-luck.

PIP pays:

  • 80 percent of reasonable or allowable accident-related medical expenses
  • 60 percent of lost wages
  • $5,000 death benefits

The typical PIP policy limit is $10,000 per person with a deductible of up to $2,000.

Property Damage Liability (F.S. 324.022). Covers damage to a third party’s property, including motor vehicles, walls, telephone poles, buildings, etc. The coverage travels with the insured, meaning it applies (with exceptions) when the insured is operating a non-listed vehicle. It may also cover a permissive user of a listed vehicle. The minimum policy limit is $10,000.

Bodily Injury Liability (BI) (324.021). Not mandatory in Florida. However, for those convicted of DUI, it is mandatory for a period of three years after  license reinstatement. For convictions before October 1, 2007, the minimum coverage limits are $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident. On or after October 1, 2007: $100,000/$300,000.

BI covers for injuries and loss of life caused by the insured while operating certain listed vehicles. It may also afford coverage to the insured while operating a non-listed vehicle, like a friend’s car. An added bonus of maintaining BI is that the insurance carrier will furnish a legal defense on its tab. The minimum BI coverage limits are $10,000/$20,000. The maximum can be whatever the insured desires and can afford. Umbrella insurance is a way of increasing limits while saving on cost.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) (627.727). UM covers losses sustained by the insured, passengers, and family members through the fault of a party who fails to maintain BI insurance. Hit-and-run and “phantom vehicle” scenarios fall under UM coverage. UIM covers losses exceeding the at-fault party’s BI limits.

UM/UIM insurance can be “stacked.” A common misunderstanding is that stacking always increases coverage limits. It does not. Increasing limits through stacking is known as aggregating, which is combining UM/UIM limits from two or more vehicles with stacked coverage. For example, the owner of three vehicles with stacked coverage will have available limits up to the sum of the three combined. Conversely, if none or only one of the vehicles maintained stacked coverage, aggregating is not available even if the other vehicles had non-stacked UM/UIM.

Interestingly, aggregation is not the only advantage of stacking. If one vehicle is stacked and the other owned vehicles do not carry UM/UIM, the stacked coverage on one extends UM/UIM to the others.

Comprehensive (627.7288). Covers non-vehicle crash related losses, such as damage from fire, theft (e.g., stereo, sunglasses, golf clubs in trunk), windstorm, vandalism, falling objects.

Collision (627.744).
Covers crash-related damage to the insured’s vehicle regardless of fault. Similar to Property Damage Liability (F.S. 324.022). 

Even though comprehensive and collision are not mandatory under Florida law, the vehicle loan finance company may require it.

Medical Payment (Med Pay). Supplements PIP. Most Med Pay policies include subrogation rights, which is reimbursement from third party proceeds.

Rental Reimbursement. 
Subject to daily cost and time period limits. The “at-fault” party’s insurance company will also pay this expense.

Vehicle rental agencies sell collision coverage. Also, your own policy may cover damage to the rental vehicle. Coverage may also be afforded through the credit card used to rent the vehicle. Before renting a vehicle, read your policy or call your agent and credit card company.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment. No-fault coverage for accidental death or dismemberment arising out of a motor vehicle accident.

The information provided here is very general. For particulars, it is best to speak to an insurance agent or lawyer. In case of an accident, contact a lawyer quickly to learn your rights. Insurance law is full of pitfalls for the unwary.

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Contact us toll free at 866-785-GALE or by email (jeffgalelaw@bellsouth.net) for a free, confidential consultation to learn your legal rights.

Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.

While prompt resolution of your legal matter is our goal, our approach is fundamentally different. Our clients are “people” and not “cases” or “files.” We take the time to build a relationship with our clients, realizing that only through meaningful interaction can we best serve their needs. In this manner, we have been able to best help those requiring legal representation.