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Am I ‘Fully Covered’ in the Event of a Car Accident?

Florida law requires every driver to carry car insurance, but do our insurance laws go far enough? If a Florida driver is “fully covered” under Florida’s car insurance laws, how well will he or she be protected in the event of a serious car accident? If a “fully covered” Florida driver causes an accident, what can the victims expect in terms of compensation from the responsible driver’s insurance company?

The answers to these questions may surprise you.

What Does ‘Fully Covered’ Mean?

The only type of car insurance required by Florida law is personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This is no-fault car insurance, which means that your insurance company will compensate you regardless of who caused the accident. Under PIP coverage, your own medical expenses (usually up to 80 percent) and your lost wages (up to 60 percent) are covered, up to a maximum of $10,000. While $10,000 might sound like a lot, the funds can go quickly, especially if you have suffered a serious injury.

Don’t Florida Drivers Have to Carry Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance, sometimes called bodily injury insurance, provides an additional source of compensation for any victims of a motor vehicle accident caused by a driver who carries this type of coverage. In a typical liability insurance policy, the insurance company agrees to provide coverage for liability claims after an accident up to the policy limits.

Florida drivers are not required to carry liability insurance. In practical terms, this means that you could suffer devastating injury in a car accident that was clearly caused by another driver but be limited to the $10,000 compensation available through your PIP coverage.

What About Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Drivers who have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) are protected to a certain extent in the event of a serious car accident with a driver who does not carry adequate liability insurance. If you have UM/UIM coverage, then you can make a claim against your own insurance company to cover some of your expenses from an accident that are not covered by your PIP policy and that exceed the amount of liability coverage carried by the person who caused the crash.

What You Can Do

Carefully review your family’s car insurance policies to make sure every family member is adequately covered in the event of an accident. If you don’t already have uninsured motorist coverage, consider adding UIM to your policy. Ask your insurance agent about other types of voluntary insurance coverage, and make sure you get clear answers to your questions.

Consider the fact that the PIP limits are higher in some other states that require drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance. For example, in Minnesota the maximum is $40,000, and in New Jersey the maximum is $250,000 for certain catastrophic injuries. Urge your state representatives to reform our car insurance laws.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car or truck accident and you have questions about insurance claims after the accident, contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney, like those at Greenberg Stone and Urbano A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn more, visit us at www.sgglaw.com.

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