Automobile insurance law in Florida is confusing. Many people believe they have "full coverage" and are therefore fully protected from all consequences of an accident. Those people are wrong. In Florida, "full coverage" only requires you to buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and Property Damage (PD) liability coverage.
Florida is a No-Fault State. PIP coverage is no-fault insurance that pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, no matter who is at fault for the accident. The most that can be paid under PIP for medical bills and/or wages is $10,000.00.
PROPERTY DAMAGE (PD)
Property damage coverage protects you if you negligently damage someone else's property with your car. It does not protect you from a claim made by a person you injure due to your negligence.
Thus, PIP and PD insurance are the only coverages that Florida law requires you to buy. This is "full coverage" in Florida.
MED PAY COVERAGE
Med Pay coverage supplements your PIP benefits which pays only 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages out of the $10,000 PIP limit.
Med Pay coverage does two things: it pays the 20% of medical bills PIP does not pay; and it lets you save your PIP coverage to pay your lost wages. This is important if an accident causes you to miss a significant amount of work. With Med Pay, your insurance company must reserve your PIP coverage for your lost wages and pay your medical bills out of the Med Pay coverage, until the Med Pay is exhausted.
Med Pay coverage is usually inexpensive. Be sure to inquire about the cost of Med Pay.
IS FULL COVERAGE OK?
Usually not. If you are injured in an accident, you may be entitled to collect damages from the at fault party for the medical bills and lost wages not paid by PIP and for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. However, the at fault party must have Bodily Injury (BI) liability insurance for you to be able to make a claim for those damages. If the at fault party only has PIP and PD, there won't be any insurance available from the at fault driver to pay for any of your damages. If you assume the at-fault driver will have adequate BI coverage, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
PROTECTING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) is designed to protect you if the negligent driver does not have BI coverage. It takes the place of the at fault driver's missing BI coverage. If you purchase UM coverage, you will have coverage for your damages, even if the negligent driver did not have BI coverage. As long as there are drivers with only PIP and PD, you need UM coverage to be fully protected.
Notes: If you have more than one car on your policy, be sure to buy "stacked" UM coverage, which increases the coverage for each car on the policy. Also, in order to buy UM coverage, you must also buy your own BI coverage. Finally, your UM limits must be same as your BI limits unless you elect lower limits.
UM insurance is valuable coverage you should have. Many people are driving today uninsured. Do not wait until you or a loved one has an accident before you protect yourself.