Owning a car in Florida means you must carry insurance. Each state has its own requirements for the kinds and amounts of coverage you need, and Florida is unique among them in several ways. Because this is one of the few states that still has no-fault insurance laws, you would do well to understand what your responsibilities are in the event of an injury-causing accident.
It is also a good idea to know the terms of your auto insurance coverage, particularly your personal injury protection and bodily injury liability policies. Chances are you are not adequately covered if you or your passengers suffer serious injuries in an accident. There is also a very good chance that the other driver's insurance is not able to help you.
Personal injury protection
State law requires you to carry PIP on your auto insurance policy. This pays the medical bills for you and your passengers following a crash in which they suffer injuries. PIP policies are where Florida gets its reputation for being a no-fault state since payment from a PIP policy does not relate to whether your actions caused the accident. You must carry $10,000 worth of PIP.
If you consider the expense of emergency responders, the cost of a hospital stay, surgery, medication and rehabilitation that may follow a serious car accident, that $10,000 can dissipate quickly. If more than one person was in the vehicle with you at the time of the accident, you can predict that the maximum insurance benefits will not fully cover treatment for everyone.
Bodily injury liability
An optional form of auto insurance is bodily injury liability. This is a policy that provides benefits to anyone in a vehicle who suffers injuries when the other driver was at fault. In other words, if a negligent driver collides with your car and injures you and your passenger, the other driver's BIL should cover your medical expenses and even funeral expenses if the injuries are fatal.
Unfortunately, not every driver carries BIL, and the law does not mandate it. It offers a higher benefit, so it costs more, and many drivers opt to skip that coverage, leaving you with only the PIP benefits on your own policy. However, this may not be your only option. Your accident may qualify you to seek compensation through other means, such as through a personal injury claim in civil court. For information about how to pursue such a claim, you can reach out to an experienced attorney.