The thought of having to call your car insurance company after being involved in a car crash can often be seen as an intimidating task. Sometimes it can lead to questions like, "Will I be fully covered?" or "Will my rates go up?" The lucky few that have never experienced a car crash may find themselves asking, "How much car insurance do I need?"
The Importance of Car Insurance
The primary goal of car insurance is financial protection. If you are involved in a car crash, you may be responsible for the resulting losses. Whether those are medical expenses or vehicle repair costs, they can easily be too much to pay out-of-pocket. Car insurance will pay for property damage and injuries to people up to the amount of coverage purchased.
The general rule is to purchase as much car insurance coverage as you can reasonably afford from a known and highly rated insurance company and to work with an insurance agent who can explain all the types of available car insurance coverages.
Importantly, you will want to have liability insurance coverage equal to or greater than your net worth to protect your personal assets if you are ever at fault for causing an accident and as much uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage as you can reasonably afford in case you are injured in a crash involving someone with no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your damages.
Required by State
Each state has its own minimum requirements for what type of insurance coverage each driver needs. In Florida, every car-owner is required to have the following coverages:
● $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) - This coverage helps cover the property damage costs of another person when you were at fault. This is clearly not enough!
● $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Personal injury protection coverage helps cover, in part, medical expenses for you and any uninsured passengers. This costly coverage is not necessary if you have health insurance, but you are still required to purchase PIP coverage in Florida. Many states don't require PIP coverage.
Bodily Injury (BI) Liability coverage is not required in Florida, but it should. Almost all States require BI coverage to provide a layer of protection and compensation for persons injured in car, truck and motorcycle crashes. Florida is the rare exception where BI coverage is not mandatory. This needs to change!
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage is likewise not required in Florida. If you have purchased bodily injury coverage, however, you must formally sign a rejection of UM coverage in order to not have UM coverage. Protective UM coverage is that important in Florida and Florida lawmakers recognize this fact.
Collision and Comprehensive coverage is also not required for your vehicle; however, some lenders may require it if you are financing or leasing your vehicle.
Note: While not required by Florida law, it is highly recommended that you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Approximately one-quarter of Florida drivers are uninsured and, due to the low state minimum requirements, many don't have enough coverage. Uninsured/Underinsured coverage could help you receive compensation you may not receive otherwise from a driver with sub-standard coverage.
Purchase as much UM coverage as you can reasonably afford up to the amount of your bodily injury coverage limits and always select the option of stacking UM coverage which increases your coverage if you own more than one vehicle by stacking the coverages on top of each other. For example, 1 car $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident; 2 cars stacked UM $200,000/$600,000; 5 cars stacked UM $500,000/$1,500,000. You get the idea!
Protect Yourself and Others
Ultimately, car insurance exists to provide you protection from expenses that occur from car accidents regardless of who was at fault. The right amount of car insurance coverage provides owners and drivers with peace of mind knowing they are protected from expensive and unforeseen liability and costs.
Seeking Additional Compensation?
Sometimes your expenses exceed your insurance minimums, leaving you having to find additional compensation. Other times, the insurance companies may provide you with a low settlement offer or deny your claim outright. Also, did you know your own insurance company can deny your UM claim if you did not get your insurance company's permission to settle with the at fault driver's insurance company?
The car accident team at Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. will thoroughly and carefully investigate your claim to ensure that you receive full, fair and just compensation for your injuries and expenses, whether it be through the other party's or your insurance carrier.
Call our office today at to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our online form to quickly get in touch with a member of our team. We will fight for your rights when others will not.