If you plan to register a vehicle in Florida, then you will have to buy the state’s required auto insurance. Florida requires all drivers to carry a no-fault insurance in addition to at-fault liability coverage. Yet, these no-fault insurance laws might seem confusing. No-fault states have a different way of determining whose auto insurance pays for damage following accidents. Here’s how it works and how much coverage you need.
No-Fault Car Insurance
When car wrecks occur, they are usually someone’s fault. For instance, suppose that while trying to stop at a red light, you rear-end another vehicle. The other driver gets hurt and the vehicle sustains damage.
Because the other vehicle had already stopped, and because you ran into the back of it, then the accident is likely your fault. As a result, some of the responsibility for the damage costs often falls on the at-fault driver (in this case, you).
Some states require that at-fault drivers pay for damage they cause to other drivers, pedestrians or property. These are at-fault states. Most require liability insurance. It will help the at-fault drivers to repay those affected. Liability coverage can pay for both third-party bodily injuries and property damage.
In no-fault states like Florida, however, the law is a bit different. Under Florida's no-fault laws, an at-fault driver does not bear automatic responsibility for third-party bodily injury costs. Fault will still apply when it comes to property damage costs, however.
To cover injury costs, both parties initially file on their own auto insurance. Only after meeting qualifications can the party without fault file against the at-fault driver's liability coverage. In Florida, the threshold generally occurs if someone exceeds $10,000 in injury costs.
Florida’s Insurance Requirements
Since Florida is a no-fault state, vehicles must have two types of insurance:
- $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP coverage)
- $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) insurance
Officially, the required PIP coverage is subject to no-fault insurance laws. PIP will pay for the policyholder’s injury costs regardless of who causes the accident.
In the accident scenario above, it doesn’t matter whether you hit the other car, or someone else hit yours. You will use your PIP coverage first to pay for medical costs. The policy will pay for up to 80% of what the law terms necessary and reasonable medical expenses. PIP coverage might also pay for other costs, such as childcare, arising as a result of the accident.
However, fault still applies to vehicle damage. This is why you must carry property damage liability insurance. If your at-fault accident damages someone else’s vehicle, then they can still file against your PDL insurance for repair costs.
Expanding Your Coverage
Even once you buy Florida's minimum limits, it’s still important to increase your coverage further. Only having a basic policy might not offer adequate protection in severe accidents.
- The more PIP coverage you have, the lower your likelihood of having to sue someone else under their liability coverage.
- Some injuries will still qualify a driver who was not at-fault to file against your liability policy. Therefore, it is still a good idea to buy bodily injury liability insurance as well as PIP coverage.
- If you have high PDL limits, then you might be able to pay for all third-party damage through your policy. That might save you from having to dig into your own pockets for outstanding costs.
- You might also choose to buy additional coverage for your own physical damage. Collision coverage can pay for your car’s damage from accidents where you are at fault. Comprehensive policies can cover damage to your car from non-accident hazards, like fires, vehicle theft or severe weather.
It can seem tricky to determine where to set the limits on your Florida car insurance. However, higher policy limits often prove more beneficial in case of accidents. Work with your agent to decide the right amount of protection for your vehicle and your budget.