Cameroon Finance

Mar 22 2018

Florida No-Fault Car Insurance Claims

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Florida No-Fault Car Insurance Rules and Coverage Requirements

In this article, we focus on Florida’s auto insurance laws and coverage requirements, including minimum requirements for all four-wheeled vehicles registered in the state, and how Florida’s status as a “no-fault” state affects injured drivers and passengers after a car accident. (If you’re new to no-fault car insurance, we provide background information in our article No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics. And for more details on Florida laws that could affect a car accident insurance claim or lawsuit, see our companion article Car Accident Laws in Florida .)

Florida is a “No-Fault” Car Insurance State

Florida follows a “no-fault” system when it comes to injury claims after a car accident. Drivers are required to carry auto insurance that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. When the policyholder (or anyone else covered under the terms of the policy) is injured in a car accident, PIP pays medical expenses and certain non-medical-related costs associated with the accident — like lost wages and the costs of hiring someone to do household chores (known as “replacement benefits”) — up to the coverage limits.

By contrast, in an “at-fault” insurance state (also known as a “fault” or “tort liability” state), drivers may choose whether to file claims with their own insurers, file claims with another driver’s insurer, or take the other driver to court to prove he or she was the one at fault, and therefore the one responsible for paying the costs of the accident.

Who is Covered Under PIP Car Insurance in Florida?

All Florida vehicle owners are required to carry minimum PIP benefits in their policies. These benefits kick in regardless of who was at fault in the accident. But PIP protections benefit more than just the policyholder who is injured while involved in an accident in his or her own vehicle. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. PIP coverage also applies to:

  • your children (not just for accidents that occur in your car, but also for injuries that occur while riding on a school bus)
  • members of your household, and
  • most passengers who lack PIP Insurance (as long as they don’t own a vehicle).

Your PIP coverage also protects you while you’re a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, and as a pedestrian or bicyclist if you suffer injuries in a crash involving a motor vehicle.

Note that anyone who is riding in your car who carries PIP will receive coverage under their own PIP for their injuries. The same goes for most licensed drivers who are driving your vehicle with your permission.

Florida’s “Injury Threshold” for Taking a Claim Out of the No-Fault System

Florida drivers can only step outside of the state’s no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver directly:

  • if injuries resulting from the accident are considered “permanent”
  • if significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement occurs, or
  • if significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function results from the crash.

This threshold is significant because an injured driver or passenger can’t receive certain kinds of compensation via a no-fault or PIP claim. Most notably, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are excluded from the no-fault/PIP process. But once you’re permitted to step outside of the no-fault construct and file a liability claim or lawsuit, you’re entitled to seek the full spectrum of car accident damages, including payment for pain and suffering, which can really boost the value of a car accident claim .

Finally, it’s important to note that vehicle damage is never part of a no-fault or PIP claim. If you want to get payment for damage to a vehicle after an accident, you’re free to pursue an insurance action or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Florida

Now that you understand how no-fault PIP coverage works, what kinds and amounts of car insurance coverage are mandated under Florida law? The following minimums are required in order to register a vehicle in the state:

  • $10,000 in no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and
  • $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) benefits (which kicks in if you cause damage to someone else’s vehicle or other property in an accident).

Unlike most other U.S. states, Florida does not require drivers to have bodily injury liability (BIL) benefits (which pay the costs of injuries to other drivers and passengers if a crash occurs and you’re found to be at fault). All auto insurance policies must be purchased from insurers licensed to do business in Florida. Driving without insurance in Florida is illegal, and a driver may have his or her license suspended if caught driving without at least the minimum required coverage. To get a license reinstated, a driver has to show proof of insurance on every vehicle owned in the state of Florida, and must pay a fine of up to $500 per violation.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Florida

Florida drivers are not required to buy uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This kind of coverage must be offered by an insurer at the time a policy is purchased in Florida, but the purchaser can reject UIM coverage as long as they decline in writing. UIM coverage pays additional benefits if a policyholder is hit by a driver who does not have any insurance (uninsured) or who does not have enough insurance to cover the costs of the policyholder’s medical bills and other damages. For more details on how this coverage works, see Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Basics and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: How It Works.

More Information on Florida Car Insurance Rules

In 2006, the Florida Senate released a guide to Florida no-fault auto insurance. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also answers frequently asked questions about insurance requirements on its website.

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