What insurance is required in Florida?
Florida law requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance: $10,000 of property damage liability (“PDL”) insurance and $10,000 of personal injury protection (“PIP”) insurance. PDL insurance pays for damage you cause to other people’s property after a vehicle crash if you are at fault, while PIP insurance pays a portion of your medical bills and lost wages if you are injured in an auto accident regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, Florida drivers are not required to carry bodily-injury insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UM/UIM”) coverage.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
UM/UIM insurance provides coverage for you in the event that you are in an accident with an individual and your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages exceed the amount of insurance the at-fault driver purchased. In order to purchase UM/UIM coverage, you must purchase bodily-injury liability insurance. Bodily-injury liability insurance provides coverage for other individual’s bodily injuries and resulting damages in the event that you are at fault for an accident. Florida law requires insurance carriers to offer Florida driver’s UM/UIM coverage.
Why does this matter?
According to the most recent report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 400,000 reported automobile crashes in Florida in 2018, with over 255,000 of those crashes resulting in injuries, and over 3,000 fatalities. Shockingly, approximately one out of every four drivers in Florida does not carry auto insurance. Additionally, many drivers only carry the minimum coverage required by Florida law. If you are involved in an auto accident and the at-fault driver is uninsured or only carries minimal policy limits, your damages may quickly exceed their insurance limits. In this instance, your recourse against the at-fault driver will likely be limited to pursuing their personal assets to cover your damages, making the likelihood of recovering compensation highly unlikely.
While your own PIP coverage will coverage eighty percent of your medical expenses up to $10,000, this coverage can quickly run out – especially if diagnostic images like CT scans, X-rays, or MRIs are necessary. With the number of uninsured drivers and the low minimum insurance requirements in Florida, it is strongly advisable to purchase UM/UIM coverage and protect yourself in the event of an accident.