According to statistics by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2018, Florida had 403,626 traffic crashes on its roads. There were 152,067 injuries and 3,135 fatalities caused by auto accidents. According to a 2015 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) Florida ranked #1 with the highest percentage of uninsured motorists at 26.7%. That means if you are involved in a motor vehicle in Florida there is a 1 in 4 chance that the other driver does not have insurance to cover your injuries or damage to your vehicle.
What to do if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident:
- Stay at the scene.
- Check on the condition of other drivers and passengers.
- Call the police – 911.
- Move the vehicles out of harm’s way (if possible).
- Exchange information with other driver(s).
- Take photos on a camera or cell phone.
- Get names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Inform your insurance company of the accident.
- Call an attorney.
Make sure you are insured!
In order to know if you are properly insured you it is helpful to understand what each coverage provides.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP or No-Fault Coverage)
PIP provides coverage to the insured for medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault. Thus, if you are involved in an auto accident with another vehicle, your PIP provides coverage for you and the other driver’s PIP provides coverage for him/her. PIP pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages generally up to $10,000.
Bodily Injury (BI) Coverage
BI provides coverage for damages arising from bodily injuries caused to others by the policyholder’s action(s). It typically covers the expenses such as for ambulance service, doctors’ fees, hospital charges, physical rehabilitation and loss of income or earning capacity. Thus, if you are injured by the negligence of another driver, the other driver would have to have BI coverage to cover your injuries.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
UM coverage compensates the insured person for damages caused in collision with a hit-and-run driver or with one who does not have automobile accident insurance. It also compensates the insured person to the extent the at-fault party does not maintain sufficient BI coverage to compensate the insured for his/her injuries.
Property Damage Liability (PD) Coverage
PD Coverage pays for damages that an insured is legally liable for resulting in the physical damage to, or destruction of, tangible property of another, including loss of use. If an insured is sued, the insurer will provide legal representation. Florida law requires a minimum of $10,000 in this coverage. PD coverage pays for damage done to another person’s property, including rental coverage and loss of use.
Coverage that pays for damage to an insured’s vehicle; subject to any deductible. This coverage is valuable if the at-fault party does not have insurance as it will provide coverage for repairs to your vehicle. However, this coverage often does not provide rental coverage which must be purchased separately.
Florida only requires the owner of a motor vehicle purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in property damage (PD) coverage. Neither of these coverages is going to fully compensate you for past medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of the enjoyment of life caused by an automobile accident.
It’s important to protect yourself and your loved ones from the very real possibility that the person who rear-ends you on I-95 either doesn’t carry bodily injury insurance or carries insufficient coverage to compensate you for your injuries. Purchase UM coverage.