Although there are car insurance minimum requirements in Florida, there is a big difference between the amount of car insurance motorists are required to have and the amount they need, and minimum car insurance is rarely enough.
In order to own and retain a license plate and registration in Florida, motorists need to have $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) and, if the driver has committed a DUI offense in the past, they are required to have $10,000 worth of property damage liability (PDL) cover as well. With PIP insurance, 80% of medical bills and up to 60% of lost income is covered up to the limit of your policy. However, $10,000 is not sufficient enough for the safety of yourself and your family, which is why there’s the option for additional coverage.
Additional Car Insurance Options in Florida
Although Florida residents are required to take out the minimum required car insurance, if you want to make sure you’re properly covered for every eventuality, we’ve listed some additional car insurance options you can consider over and above the required minimum.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
As the name suggests, bodily injury liability insurance covers any bodily harm you may have caused to other people as the result of an accident that was your fault. Without bodily injury liability insurance, you are at risk of being held liable for paying the medical bills that are incurred as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
If you only have the required car insurance minimum of $10,000, if you or anyone else is harmed due to an accident you caused, all medical bills over and above that amount will be your responsibility to pay for. If the accident was another driver’s fault and your medical bills exceeded $10,000, you will have to seek compensation from the driver.
You are not required to have bodily injury insurance in Florida unless you have been convicted of a DUI. If you were convicted on or before October 1, 2007, the minimum requirement is $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident and if you were convicted after October 1, 2007, the minimum requirement is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. All Florida residents convicted of a DUI must have bodily injury insurance for a period of three years after the return of their driver’s license.
If you’re wondering, “how much bodily injury liability insurance do I need?” then it’s important to know that the Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires all drivers who are at fault in an accident to have coverage of at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. If this financial responsibility isn’t met, your driving privileges could be revoked.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Typically, it is the responsibility of the motorist who caused the accident to cover all bills incurred as a result of their reckless driving. uninsured motorist (UM) insurance protects you from having to pay for your own medical bills if the motorist who caused the accident doesn’t have car insurance or is underinsured. It typically covers all bodily injury expenses as well as property damage repairs. Florida has the 5th largest number of uninsured drivers in the country, so Uninsured Motorist Insurance is encouraged.
One thing to bear in mind is that uninsured motorist insurance doesn’t pay for repairs on your car. It covers things such as:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life due to the collision
- Wheelchairs and other mobile devices
- Replacement services for things you are no longer able to do, e.g. cleaner, caregiver
Stacked and Unstacked Uninsured Motorist Insurance
If you want the most comprehensive insurance, choose stacked over unstacked uninsured motorist insurance because it provides better coverage and higher limits. Stacked UM insurance also covers you if you are the driver or passenger of any car, including another person’s car, a rented car, or a motorcycle. Unstacked UM insurance only covers injuries that are listed on your policy. If you own a car and a motorcycle and you opt for stacked UM insurance, you can also add your motorcycle to your policy, which makes it more affordable than taking out a separate unstacked policy for your motorcycle.
So, even though unstacked UM insurance is a lot cheaper than stacked, the latter is more cost-effective in the long run.
Extended Personal Injury Protection
Florida is one of ten states that have personal injury protection (PIP) cover as a required minimum, also called Florida No Fault Insurance. The purpose of PIP coverage is to speed up the process of receiving compensation and to limit using the court system in Florida to determine fault in car accidents. With PIP insurance, the injured party goes to his or her own insurance company to collect payment, regardless of whether they are at fault. The payment received is meant to go towards all medical bills that and any lost wages due to the accident.
However, the minimum required coverage in Florida for bodily injuries is $10,000, which doesn’t go far, especially if other people besides yourself were in your car at the time of the accident. You should consider extending your PIP insurance to $50,000 or $100,000 so that you don’t have to pay for medical bills out of your own pocket or worry about lost wages.
Medical Payment Insurance
If you or your passengers are injured in a car accident, medical payment insurance, or Med-Pay, will help cover medical-related bills such as ambulance and paramedic fees, doctor and hospital visits, nursing services, surgery, scans, and tests. Med-Pay is an added extra on top of personal injury protection, most Florida residents don’t opt for it if they already have personal injury insurance.
Medical payment insurance may sound a lot like personal injury protection insurance and they are similar in that both pay for you and your passengers’ medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident, however, there are three main differences between the two:
- Med-Pay covers the 20% co-payment that is not covered by personal injury insurance
- For example, if you are in an accident and you are admitted to hospital and your hospital bills amount to $1500, your personal injury insurance will cover 80% of the bill but if you purchased Med-Pay, the extra 20% co-payment will be covered as well
- Med-Pay is not dependent on fault
- Unlike PIP, Med-Pay doesn’t reimburse you for lost wages
What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?
Comprehensive car insurance isn’t required in Florida but it’s highly recommended. It covers you if your car is stolen or damaged not due to a collision. This includes damage due to fire, hailstorms, or if something falls on your car and damages it, as well as vandalism. If you’re still paying off your car, financers will often request that you take out this type of insurance.
Comprehensive car insurance is a nice add-on, however, it doesn’t cover any damage done to your car or the other driver’s car as the result of a collision and it doesn’t cover any medical bills resulting from a collision. When you take out comprehensive car insurance, you will have to select a deductible, which is the amount you will pay out of your own pocket and it also has a limit to the amount it will pay out, which is typically the cash value of your car — this would be the depreciated value of your car and not value of your car when you bought it.