What Does ‘Full Coverage’ Mean in Florida?

car accident attorneys

If you own a car in Florida you are mandated to carry two types of coverage. The first is property damage and the other is PIP (Personal Injury Protection). The minimum amount required for each is $10,000. Many insurance agents will tell you that this “full coverage”.

How does PIP coverage work in Florida?

PIP was written into law in the 1970s, over 40 years ago. PIP is intended to provide quick and certain reimbursement to you for lost wages and medical expenses as a result of a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault. The problem is that PIP is $10,000. This is the same limit set when the law.

This is the bare minimum and not nearly enough. In order to protect yourself and your family having above the mandated coverage is recommended. You might ask yourself, what other coverage do I need? There are several additional coverages that you can purchase to ensure you and your family will be protected if you should be involved in an accident regardless of fault. The problem with PIP is that more times than not it is not enough coverage to cover your expenses after an accident. This is the same limit that was set when the law was written, some 40 years ago. Today, if your injury is so severe that you require a medical helicopter ride, you’re out of PIP coverage before landing at the hospital.

Another problem with PIP is that it does not cover your medical bills or lost wages at 100%. PIP only pays 80% of your medical bills, and only reimburses you 60% of lost wages. Again, this is a combined medical and wage loss coverage up to $10,000. Your losses may far exceed this $10,000, particularly if you have a permanent injury. PIP laws have recently changed, making it even more dangerous to not have the proper coverage for you and your family.

So here’s the new part – If you don’t get medical treatment within 14 days of your accident, guess how much PIP you’ll get? Possibly none! If a doctor, nurse practitioner, or PA doesn’t diagnose you with an “Emergency Medical Condition”, you’re not getting more than $2,500. A chiropractor is no longer allowed to diagnose a condition as an “emergency medical condition”, so even though you might be seeing a chiropractor to help you get better, you’ll still need to see a doctor, nurse practitioner or PA. He or she will do an exam and determine whether you have an “emergency medical condition” …IF you do, and if you saw a medical professional within 14 days of your accident, you’ll get $10,000 in PIP benefits instead of just $2,500.

So, if you are hurt from an accident, don’t just pop some Tylenol or Advil and assume you’ll just get better with time. If you are hurt, seek medical care immediately. If you don’t, you might just be throwing away $7,500 in insurance benefits.

How does property damage coverage work in Florida?

The second type of coverage that is mandated is property damage. Unlike PIP, it is quite simple to understand. Property damage coverage is the portion of your automobile insurance that will pay to “fix” the stuff that was damaged in the accident. Most of the time, the “stuff” that is damaged is your vehicle. However, property damage may cover other items, such as a damaged bicycle or car seat. The minimum amount required in Florida is $10,000. Clearly, with today’s price to purchase a vehicle, this may not be nearly enough to cover your damage.

There are additional coverages you can purchase that will protect your family. Although it will be an additional cost, if you are involved in an automobile accident that results in property damage and injuries, you may certainly be stuck with out of pockets. So when purchasing automobile coverage on your vehicle, ask your agent to explain the additional coverage you may purchase.