Checklist of Standard Florida Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverages

checklist.jpgFrom our experience, most Florida motor vehicle owners are not familiar with the many different types of coverages that are available, for the asking and at a price, under a standard vehicle insurance policy.

Preliminarily, it should be understood that, in Florida, for a vehicle to be lawfully registered, the only mandatory coverages are PIP (limited medical and lost wages) and Property Damage – Liability (covers damage to the other person’s property caused by the at-fault party). (Florida, a state with, in my opinion, primitive notions of right and wrong, is in the minority with regard to mandatory coverages. Other states, by making Bodily Injury – Liability mandatory, seemingly value life and limb more than property. Not so Florida, whose motor vehicle insurance vehicle laws create an environment the equivalent of the Wild West, where each man is responsible for his own safety and welfare without protection from the authorities.) Since these are the minimum requirements, a policy that covers nothing more is also the least expensive policy that can be purchased.* It is also the policy of choice for a large percentage of Florida motorists.

Because each type of coverage increases an insurance company’s exposure for paying claims, separate premiums are charged for each. Here is a list of other available Florida coverages:

  • Bodily Injury – Liability (BI). Similar to Property Damage – Liability, BI compensates for personal injuries rather than for property damage caused by the insured’s negligence. Policy limits can be as high as the insured wishes, beginning at $10,000 and going into the millions. By having this coverage, the insured is more likely to avoid being sued, and, if sued, is defended at the carrier’s expense. Most importantly, this coverage demonstrares a responsibility to others. (Another benefit of having BI coverage is that, in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or personal injury, the at-fault insured’s drivers license and all vehicle registrations will not be suspended. Read our blog for a further discussion of this subject.)
  • Comprehensive/Collision. Comprehensive covers the insured’s losses due to the theft of a vehicle or its contents, while Collision covers losses resulting from an accident.
  • UM/UIM (Unisured Motorits/Underinsured Motorist). This coverage is the equivalent of BI, but inures to the benefit of the insured when the at-fault party does not have BI (UM) or does not have enough BI (UIM) insurance. It is the best and practically only way motorists can avoid being dependent on the insurance choices of others. Like BI, coverage limits start at $10,000.
  • Medical Payments (Med Pay). Similar to PIP, but for medical benefits only and without the 80% limit. It is typically used to pay the 20% not covered by PIP and for charges incurred once the PIP is exhausted. Coverage limits vary.
  • Miscellaneous. Towing and rental car reimbursement.

*PIP, unlike BI, is a cash cow for insurance companies. This is why carriers resist all efforts at making BI coverage mandatory. Worse, still, is that the carriers are trying to reap more profits through PIP by fabricating an insurance crisis designed to create legislation limiting benefits payable under PIP, without, of course, a corresponding reduction in premiums.

The beat goes on.

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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.

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