If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be feeling uncertain about how you should proceed with your insurance claim. At the Shiner Law Group, we understand Florida’s insurance programs can be exceedingly complex, particularly if you have sustained a physical injury in a motor vehicle collision involving motorcycles or commercial vehicles.
Our experienced and award-winning attorneys identify Florida’s different types of insurance programs and how you can protect your legal rights in the event of an accident:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Florida law requires motorists to carry a minimum personal injury protection policy of $10,000. This is sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance. Personal injury protection benefits permit accident victims to recover financial compensation from their respective insurance companies to cover medical expenses incurred from treatment and rehabilitation, periods of disability, lost wages or reduced earning capacity, and wrongful death. (Personal injury protection benefits are not offered to motorcycle accident victims.)
If a car accident victim was wrongfully killed by the at-fault party, personal injury protection benefits will also cover the funeral expenses if the burial costs were paid by the decedent’s surviving family members.
Bodily Injury (BI)
Bodily Injury Insurance (BI): Bodily injury insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers victims in the event another party’s negligence contributed to physical injury and property damage. In many accident cases, the injuries sustained often go beyond bodily harm, and bodily injury insurance also permits victims to recover compensation for emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may cause the victims to experience disturbing dreams and flashbacks. Other signs of emotional trauma may include mood changes and a reduced ability to perform daily functions.
While a car accident victim may not have bodily injury insurance coverage, an experienced car accident attorney can help you recover compensation under certain conditions.
Uninsured Motorist (UM)
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: If a car accident victim has sustained physical injury or property damage, they may be entitled to financial compensation through UM auto insurance if the at-fault party was uninsured or underinsured. If your insurance company claims do not provide UM coverage, or if the insurance company negligently denied UM coverage, your car accident lawyer can advocate on your behalf to secure coverage.
What Does UM Pay For?
- Pain & suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost Wages
- Loss of future enjoyment of life
- Medical devices
- Nursing Care
- Covering services you are no longer able to maintain: lawncare, cleaning, etc.
- Retrofitting for disability accomodations
Why Is Uninsured Motorist Important?
According to a 2015 statistic the National average for uninsured motorists was 13%, while the rate of uninsured motorists in Florida was an estimated 26.7%.
If you are injured in a car accident in Florida by an uninsured driver or under-insured driver, you may be responsible for the cost of your injuries out of pocket. Uninsured Motorist coverage helps to cover these costs based on the limits of your policy. One thing to note, UM does not pay for damage to your vehicle, only the injuries related to the accident as listed above.
What The Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limits?
In Florida, you are not required to have UM coverage. also, you cannot choose a UM limit higher than the Bodily Injury Liability limit you select. Typical auto insurance UM limits available are:
|$10,000 / $20,000||$10,000 / $20,000|
|$25,000/ $50,000||$25,000/ $50,000|
|$50,000/ $100,000||$50,000/ $100,000|
|$100,000/ $300,000||$100,000/ $300,000|
|$250,000/ $500,000||$250,000/ $500,000|
|$500,000/ $500,000||$500,000/ $500,000|
In the table above the two numbers represent (1) the maximum amount a single person may collect, and (2) the maximum amount available for all people injured in the accident.
* UM limits higher than $500,000 are available under a personal Umbrella Policy. Speak with your insurance agent about the details.
Stacked and Un-Stacked UM Coverage
In Florida, there are two types of uninsured motorist coverage – Stacked and Unstacked.
Stacked insurance is combined UM and UIM coverage across one policy or multiple policies to increase the total amount an insurer will pay for a claim.
Unstacked insurance refers to having one policy on a single vehicle and the payouts are capped at your policy’s limits for UM and UIM coverage, no matter the severity of injuries.
Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) Insurance: GAP insurance is an optional auto policy provided to Florida drivers that helps cover the difference between the amount owed on the vehicle and the car’s cash value at the time of the collision—not the original value. For example, if you owe $10,000 on your vehicle and the car’s value is $5,000, if the vehicle is in need of replacing, GAP insurance will help you cover the $5,000 difference after your deductible.
It is important to note, however, that while GAP insurance can provide additional coverage (and even cover theft and negative equity), it does not cover other property damage or physical injury caused by the accident. Additionally, deductible costs, engine failure, and wrongful death are not covered under GAP policies.