We pay car insurance premiums every month without fail but do we really know what we are paying for?
More importantly, when we get in an auto accident will the insurance policy we have be adequate?
Any time you register a vehicle in Florida, you are required to purchase an insurance policy that has $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000.00 in Property Damage Protection (PD). What does that really mean? Due to Florida's “No Fault” laws, drivers are required to cover the expense of their own injuries through their PIP benefits, rather than the other driver paying for them. This means when John Doe is involved in a motor vehicle collision with Jane Smith, John Doe's insurance carrier will provide payments up to $10,000.00 for John Doe's injuries and lost time from work. Likewise, Jane Smith's PIP policy will provide the same benefits to her.
I bet you are wondering if everyone pays for their own injuries in Florida, why are there so many lawsuits involving auto accidents? That is a good question. The short answer is someone was negligent. Remember Mr. Doe and Mrs. Smith's auto accident? Well, let's say that what precipitated Mr. Doe to rear-end Mrs. Smith's vehicle was Mr. Doe was responding to a work email on his phone and he didn't see Mrs. Smith's vehicle slowing for congested traffic. Unfortunately, Mrs. Smith had immediate pain in her neck and back following the accident. Due to this pain, she now has to see a chiropractor 2-3 times a week and her PIP benefits from her own insurance policy have exhausted. Due to Mr. Doe's negligent operation of his vehicle and the subsequent accident. Mrs. Smith now has causation to demand payment for her medical treatment from Mr. Smith and his insurance company.
So, how will Mr. Smith's insurance company cover these bills if he only carries the state required minimum? It won't. Sadly, this happens far to often. People are left with injuries caused by other's negligence with no financial relief.
In order to alleviate this unfair burden and in turn protect your own valuable assets you can purchase additional coverages on your insurance policy.
The first of those coverages would be Bodily Injury (BI) coverage. BI coverage can be added to your policy to provide a safety net should you ever be deemed negligently at fault for a motor vehicle collision. In Mr. Doe and Mrs. Smith's situation, if Mr. Doe had BI coverage at the time of the accident the additional coverage would have provided an additional source for Mrs. Smith to demand payment from for her injuries.
The second of the coverages would be Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) coverage. UM coverage is additional coverage to your insurance policy that provides relief should you be involved in an accident that isn't your fault but the at fault driver doesn't not have enough coverage for your injuries. For example, if Mrs. Smith had purchased UM coverage prior to her accident she would have been able to demand from her own insurance company that they pay for her medical bills and injuries due to the lack of coverage on the at fault driver's insurance policy.
Don't let cute little lizards and retired NBA stars fool you, cheapest isn't always the best option. When it comes to auto insurance the best option is to consider what you or those who rely on you financially would do if you were unable to work due to an accident. At Kinney & Sasso we are here to help. If you have been in an accident please feel free to call one of our dedicated staff at 904-642-4111 to set up a free consultation with our highly qualified attorneys, Phil Kinney or Benjamin Moore. Let us fight with the insurance companies while you focus on getting better.