Because Florida is a “No Fault” insurance state, it is very important to understand what type of car insurance is available and to understand which types of coverages are important to have in case you are involved in an automobile accident. Here are three important tips to help you to buy better automobile insurance coverage:
This is the most important tip: BUY UNINSURED MOTORIST (UM) COVERAGE! Liability coverage in Florida is not mandatory. If you are involved in an automobile accident with someone who has little or no bodily injury liability coverage, then you may have a problem if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage since you will be faced with having to try to recover from the person personally. Typically, people who have little to no liability coverage also have little to no assets from which you could recover and most people’s major asset is their home which is protected under the Homestead laws in Florida. Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage allows you to recover from your own insurance company when the other driver does not have any or does not have enough liability coverage to cover your injuries.
BUY GAP INSURANCE if what you owe on your vehicle is more than what it is worth. It is a well known fact that when you buy a new car, the minute you drive it off the lot, its value decreases. If you are then involved in an accident, the insurance company will only pay for the value of the car, not what you paid for it or what you still owe on the vehicle. Therefore, it is very important to buy Gap Insurance to cover the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe on your vehicle.
BUY MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE. Everyone is required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and property damage liability coverage. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) applies whether or not you were at fault for the accident. PIP coverage covers 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages along with other expenses incurred as a result of the accident, for example, travel expenses and prescription reimbursement. Since PIP only covers 80% of the medical bills, it is important to have Medical Payments Coverage to cover the 20% not covered under the PIP coverage. If you have more questions about how to buy automobile insurance coverage in Florida or if you have questions about automobile accidents or personal injuries by an accident, please call me:
KATHRYN FENDERSON SCOTT, ESQ.
SCOTT & FENDERSON, ATTORNEYS AT LAW
4755 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33713