Let’s Talk About Auto Insurance

What is required auto insurance in Florida? What does full coverage mean? Do you compare your auto insurance to the value of the car? Let’s review the important components of the auto policy, and look at the coverages Best Choice Insurance Agency urges you to carry.

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Bodily Injury Liability is coverage for other’s injuries. It will also pay for legal costs if you are sued. In Florida, you are not required to purchase this coverage in order to register your vehicle, however it is very important coverage. I often hear clients tell me that the car isn’t worth very much, why would they pay for this coverage? The value of your car has nothing to do with the amount of liability protection you should purchase. This coverage protects you if you cause injury to someone in an at fault accident. One law you may not be aware of is the Florida Financial Responsibility Law. This law is triggered by an at fault accident.

The Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires that an at fault driver that causes personal injury in an automobile accident must provide at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. If you do not have Bodily Injury coverage, and you do not have the funds available, then you could lose your license.

You read that correctly. You could lose your license. No one plans on causing injury to others, but accidents happen. Prepare and protect yourself.
If you are sued, the other driver or passengers can go after your business, stocks, investment properties, etc. Your insurance agent can help you determine the right amount of coverage to protect your assets. Another point to remember about Bodily Injury coverage is that you can not purchase Uninsured Motorist protection for yourself without it.

Property Damage is a required part of your auto insurance policy in Florida, along with PIP. Property damage is coverage for other’s property damaged by you. It can be the other driver’s auto, or a pole, fence, guardrail, etc. This coverage will also pay legal expenses in the event of a covered loss if you are sued.

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP as it is commonly known, pays for your injuries as well as injuries to your resident relatives. PIP can also help pay for your lost work or other expenses resulting from a covered loss. You must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident. This coverage is required in Florida.

Uninsured Motorist, or Underinsured Motorist will cover your injuries above the PIP limit when you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Bodily Injury liability is not required in Florida, and many drivers don’t have it. This means you are at high risk of being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Uninsured Motorist will pay for your injuries in that case. One in four Florida drivers is uninsured. Your best option to protect yourself against drivers without auto insurance is to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Uninsured Motorist coverage can be “stacked” on your auto insurance policy. Talk to your agent about this option.

Medical Payments coverage can help pay for your medical costs. Often times, the coverage can be used to fill the gap in your PIP coverage, which will only pay up to 80% of your medical costs.

Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle if it collides with another vehicle, flips or hits an object. This coverage is usually subject to a deductible of your choosing. Comprehensive, or Other Than Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from incidents other that collision. This coverage is also usually subject to a deductible.

Other coverages are available, including Roadside Assistance, Rental Reimbursement, gap coverage, etc.

In order to register your car, you have to show proof of Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability. Those are the minimum requirements. In the event of an at fault accident, you become subject to the Financial Responsibility Law, requiring either Bodily Injury Liability or available funds equal to the $10,000/20,000 limits. Even that is truly not enough. Here in DeLand, Volusia County, or the entire State of Florida, an estimated 1 out of 4 drivers are uninsured. Until Bodily Injury Liability is required in Florida, the only way to protect yourself is with Uninsured Motorist. Make sure you discuss these important coverages with your agent. Even if you aren’t yet a Best Choice Insurance Agency client, I’ll be happy to go over these coverages with you, by phone or in person.

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