We are always surprised by the number of accident victims who do not know there way around a standard automobile insurance policy. While our Fort Myers injury lawyers have spilled a lot of ink on these pages discussing the critical need for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, we thought it would be worthwhile to take a tour of your entire policy.
We encourage you to review your policy with each renewal period to make sure it is up to date and capable of meeting your needs in the event of a collision. With each renewal, you will receive a “Declaration Page,” which will state all of your coverage basics, including insured drivers, insured vehicles and selected coverages.
- Mandatory minimums: Florida ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to mandatory minimum insurance coverage. The state requires just $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 in Property Damage Coverage. These limits are breathtakingly inadequate. In fact, these limits do not even require liability insurance, which can be financially devastating to a driver found liable for injuries in the wake of a collision.
- Insured drivers: Make sure all drivers are listed on your policy, particularly if they live in your household. While coverage should be afforded if you loan your car to someone who is in a collision, the frequency of such use could become a sticking point to an insurance company looking to deny coverage.
- Insured vehicles: Make sure to update your vehicles whenever you sell or trade a vehicle. Leaving a vehicle off your policy can result in reduced coverage or even coverage denial in some circumstances.
- Vehicle location: “Garaging” is another issue. Insurance companies sell policies based on the location of a vehicle. If you move, or if you decide to leave a vehicle at your winter home in Florida, be sure to update your policy accordingly.
- Collision: This coverage repairs your vehicle in the event of a collision. Regardless of fault. This coverage also pays for repairs to your vehicle if struck by an uninsured driver. Some states offer uninsured motorist property damage coverage, but Florida is not one of them.
- Comprehensive: This coverage pays for fire, theft, vandalism, and, under some policies and in some states, animal strikes.
- Bodily injury: This protects you from liability for injury to other drivers, motorists, or pedestrians if you are found at fault for an accident. In some cases, it also protects you from liability for injuries to passengers in your car who do not live in your household.
- Property damage liability: One of only two required coverages in Florida, this pays for damage you cause to property of someone else, whether a house, vehicle, tree or mailbox. Even municipal property, like guardrails and street signs, may be covered under this portion of your policy.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage: This coverage is also optional in Florida. It pays for injuries to you or your passengers in cases where another motorist is at fault but does not have coverage, or does not have enough coverage, to compensate for damages.
- PIP: The second type of required coverage in Florida. This coverage pays for your own medical expenses, or a family member’s expenses, up to $10,000. However, there are strict time limits and limits regarding coverage for some services, like chiropractics.
By having a better understanding about what you are purchasing, our Fort Myers injury lawyers hope you can make decisions that will best protect you and your family from loss in the event of an accident.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.