Full Coverage Car Insurance
I am sure you have heard this phrase before, but what does it really mean when it comes to you and your car insurance? The term full coverage gets thrown around so frequently by people it’s no wonder there is so much confusion when it comes time for an insurance company to pay for damages to your car or medical expenses following an accident. Reading through this article will give you a good understanding on what insurance you should have and could mean the difference between financial ruin or recovery following a car accident in Florida. Be sure to also check out our article on Florida’s Minimum Car Insurance Coverage.
What Insurance Do I Have?
Without getting too technical, lets start by going over the basic coverage available to you in Florida. Some are intended to protect those you injure, some are intended to protect your property while others are designed to afford you pain and suffering and medical expenses following an accident. Below are some of the basic coverage and what they do:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This insurance is designed to pay for up to 80% of your medical expenses following an accident caused by either you or someone else, regardless as to who is at fault in Florida. (Example) Following an accident, if you accrue $1,000.00 in medical expenses for a hospital visit or other medical care following an accident, your PIP insurance should pay for $800.00 leaving the remaining $200.00 your responsibility. Generally, most people have $10,000.00 in PIP limits on their auto policies. Once your insurance has paid out $10,000.00 in benefits for medical coverage, any remaining balance is also then your responsibility. If you would like even more information on what this car insurance coverage is and what it does following a car accident you can click this link for Florida Statute 627.736.
Property Damage Liability (PD): Property Damage Liability is a little more straightforward in comparison to personal injury protection. This coverage is designed to pay for the persons property you cause damage to when you are at fault in a car accident and vice versa. Most people carry $10,000.00 in property damage coverage in Florida. (Example) You collide with the rear of another person’s car and after getting estimates for repair, the total for his vehicles comes to $12,000.00, if you have $10,000.00 in property damage liability, your insurance should pay for $10,000.00 of the damages and you will be responsible for the remaining $2,000.00. For a comprehensive understanding of how property damage liability works please visit Florida Statute 324.022.
Bodily Injury (BI): Bodily Injury coverage can be thought of as Property Damage Liability but instead of covering the other persons car you hit, it covers their body and the resulting medical expenses associated with an injury resulting from a car accident. Bodily Injury is one of the most important coverage to have on your policy because not only does it ultimately pay for medical bills associated with a car accident for the other person, it is also what pays for the other persons pain and suffering. A recent study done by ISO, a Verisk Analystic company showed that the average property damage liability claim following an accident in 2013 was $3,231.00 while the average Bodily Injury claim was $15,443.00. The bottom line, bodies are far more expensive to repair than our cars. Without this coverage, you could be held fully responsible for these damages following a car accident.
Uninsured Motorist (UM): I always tell my clients that this is the most important coverage to have in Florida, without a doubt. Following an accident that was not your fault Uninsured Motorist will afford coverage for damages to you when the other person does not have Bodily Injury Liability, or does not have enough Bodily Injury Liability to cover the damages done to you. A recent study by The Insurance Research Council shows that Florida had the highest amount of uninsured drivers in 2015, up to 26.7%. That means that more than 1 in every 4 cars you see does not have coverage. (Example) If a person hits you and does not have Bodily Injury and you do not have Uninsured Motorist coverage, there is a 1 in 4 chance that you will be stuck paying for all of the bills associated with your accident caused by another person and your attorney will not be able to make a recovery on your behalf for pain and suffering.
Collision Coverage: This coverage helps pay to repair or replace your car if its damaged in an accident involving another vehicle or object. If you have this on your policy, it protects your vehicle after an accident. This coverage is usually required if you are making payments or leasing a vehicle and will fix your car if the other person does not have Property Damage Liability. This coverage will not cover damages done to your property from not related to driving such as weather or vandalism.
Comprehensive Coverage: This coverage picks up where collision leaves off and will cover any damage to your vehicle by means of theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects or almost anything else while the car is not in motion. It is worth noting that both collision and comprehensive coverage often have a deductible associated with them ranging from $100.00 to $2,000.00. (Example) If a hail storm damages your car and the repair shop quotes you for $2,500.00 to fix the car and you have a deductible of $2,000.00 your insurance will only cover $500.00 in damages.
GAP Coverage: This coverage is worth mentioning because I have seen countless clients stuck in a bad situation because they did not understand what GAP coverage is and what it does. This coverage will pay off any remaining balance on a loan if your vehicle is considered a total loss in an accident. It may not sound like much, but because new cars lose value very quickly when you buy a car you almost always owe more on it than what it is currently worth. The insurance company is only required to pay you fair market value for you vehicle, not what you currently owe on your loan for that vehicle. (Example) You purchased a car two years ago and still owe $20,000.00, someone rear ended you and totaled your vehicle. Your car is worth $10,000.00 today and the insurance company writes you a Property Damage check for that amount. You still owe the remaining $10,000 to your loan provider following an accident caused by someone else and you still are responsible for making your monthly payments even though you now do not have that car.
Are You Covered?
So, do you have every coverage listed above? Florida Statute does not require all the coverages listed, and in fact excludes some of the most important coverages including Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist. Without these coverages you may find yourself experiencing a financial hardship following an accident. A responsible insurance agent who has your best interest at heart will not offer you an auto insurance policy that does not include these coverages.
If you still have questions on what coverages you have, or are unsure and would like a complimentary analysis by one of our qualified car accident lawyers please reach out to The Law Office of Logan T. Lawrence.
The Law Office of Logan T. Lawrence, P.A.
716 East University Avenue,
Gainesville, Florida 32601