What Florida auto insurance do I need to protect my family and me?
In 2008, there were over 200,000 accidents in the state of Florida. Many of the people causing these accidents had little, if any, insurance to pay for the injuries they caused. Many of them were also driving illegally. That ain't right. How do you protect yourself and your family if you get into an accident and it is someone elese's fault?
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist “UM” - say "Stack me!"
The most important kind of insurance you can have to protect yourself and your family is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
UM pays for your pain and suffering if you're hurt by the fault of another driver, and the other driver either has no insurance or too little insurance to cover the extent of your injuries. UM coverage also applies in some cases, to household relatives, or to other passengers in your car. Most people choose UM coverage in the same amount as their bodily injury coverage. A typical policy amount would be $100,000/$300,000. The $100,000 in the "$100,000/$300,000" is for a single person, the $300,000 in the "$100,000/$300,000" is for the total amount of the policy. This applies if there was more than one person in the car and they were covered under the UM policy. The money paid out (typically) would be according to the severity of their injuries.
Tell your insurance agent you want “stacked” coverage if you have more than one car. Stacked coverage is very inexpensive for what you get. For just a few more dollars per month, you can double your coverage if you have two cars. For example, with stacked U.M. coverage on two vehicles of $100,000/$300,000, you get $200,000/$600,000 worth of coverage. Many people driving around in Florida today have absolutely no insurance. UM is the most important insurance to protect you and your family.
Personal injury protection, called “PIP” insurance is required by Florida law. It doesn't really cover much. It covers a 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages. Florida is a “no fault” state. PIP pays regardless of fault. It usually covers you, your spouse, and the relatives living in your household. A typical policy provides for $10,000 in coverage. PIP also covers $10,000 worth of property damage to pay for the other person's car to get fixed if it was your fault. This does not pay for damage to your own car if it was your fault. However, your insurer may not pay for PIP coverage if you did not see an M.D. or other recognized professional under the statute within 14 days of the accident. Also, there must be a finding of an EMC or emergency medical condition for you to be eligible for the full $10,000 of benefits. Some insurers will deny claims or limit the amount of benefits paid to $2,500. This is being challenged in Florida courts. In short, go to see an M.D. right away after an accident. Make sure they say in the report that you have an EMC (emergency medical condition).
Collision insurance covers damage to your car. If you are making payments on your car, your lender will probably require this insurance.
You should buy bodily injury liability insurance. The main reason is you have to buy bodily injury insurance to get U.M. or uninsured underinsured motorist coverage. You must first buy B.I. to be eligible to get U.M. Also, if you have substantial assets, it is wise to buy bodily injury insurance. A typical policy is $100,000/$300,000. That covers $100,000 per person, maximum of $300,000 per occurrence or accident. B.I. covers you if you are at fault and caused someone else to be injured.
I have no personal stake in USAA. However, they been my insurance company for over 20 years. They have an AM best rating of A+. If you, or a relative, have ever served in the military, you are eligible to get insurance with USAA. When buying car insurance, check out what their AM best rating is. It should be an A rated company. Generally, you do not want to buy insurance from companies who advertise everywhere. Those companies spend all of their money on advertising - not on paying claims. Get competitive pricing from a few different companies. Go with a reputable company who has a history of paying valid claims.
“Law is not black or white, it's Grey”
Palm Beach car accident lawyer and personal injury auto attorney Grey Tesh can handle injury cases all across Florida. Grey tells his clients to get UM stacked coverage to protect their families.