When it comes to auto insurance in Florida, “full coverage” can mean “mandatory minimum” coverage, which can mean “virtually no coverage.”
Our personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral urge you to take the time to determine exactly what your auto insurance policy covers in the event of a car accident. Too often — usually, in fact — the minimum coverage is woefully inadequate. And the increasing popularity of online insurance sites has cut the agent out of the mix and eliminated the often critical advice of an insurance professional.
In other cases, uninsured or underinsured motorist protection is not selected by default on many online insurance quotes. And at least one state — Massachusetts — has accused an online insurance provider of including sky-high deductibles and eliminating emergency medical coverage for motorists who indicate they have health insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage will pay for things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of earnings capacity in the event that you suffer a permanent injury as a result of an accident — whether or not the other driver has insurance. In other words, it covers you. From an insurance perspective, it is critical coverage.
Orlando Now recently reported that even agents often use the term “full coverage” to mean the minimum coverage required by law, which in Florida is just $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to pay for lost wages and medical benefits. Frequently, such coverage will not even pay for the cost of an emergency room visit.
In 2008, WFTV Orlando’s Channel 9 reported the cost of a flight in a medical helicopter averaged $10,800. In short, electing the minimum coverage might save you $100-$200 a year and could leave you virtually uninsured in the event of a serious or fatal accident.
Comprehensive and collision coverage is another problem area, though not nearly as significant as PIP. Frequently, the minimum coverage will not come close to replacing a new vehicle. Unless you want to be the proud owner of a totaled Mercedes — and the $50,000 to $100,000 bill that goes with it — take the time to determine realistic coverage limits and insure the financial well-being of you and your family.
Lastly, Florida does not require motorists to carry Bodily Injury Insurance. This means you may not be protected in the event that you are injured by a fellow motorist.
Your coverage should include Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Bodily Injury (BI) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in amounts significant enough to protect you from financial ruin in the event of a serious accident. That is what insurance is for, after all. And the difference between a $10,000 policy and a $200,000 policy is often little more than a few bucks a month.