What does it cost? About $100 a month.
There is a major problem in Florida that is getting worse every year. Florida has too many drivers with no insurance (uninsured drivers) and those who drive with the state minimum limits (under insured drivers). If you are in an accident with one of these drivers, you will experience heartbreak. Specifically, the other driver’s insurance will pay you NOTHING for your injuries, and a maximum of $10,000 for the repair or replacement of your car.
Many people do not realize that their insurance will not adequately protect them until it is too late. My advice is to make sure your policy has the insurance coverages you need to protect you and your family. By understanding insurance coverages, you can protect yourself, and potentially save money. Specifically, in Florida, you must have uninsured motorist coverage (“UM”) to protect yourself from the uninsured dangerous drivers. See our helpful chart below to help you select policy limits. Download Coverage Chart Here
5 Tips When Picking Auto Insurance
1. Insure ALL of Your Vehicles. All of your vehicles should be insured on the same policy. Make sure to opt for “Stacking” UM coverage. Your UM limits will be multiplied by the number of vehicles insured on the policy. For example, $100,000/$300,000 limits, if Stacked with two vehicles, becomes $200,000/$600,000. Stacking UM increases your policy limit, thus your protection from uninsured drivers.
2. Shop Around. Don’t let loyalty to a specific insurance company prevent you from getting the best deal. Make sure you shop around and find the best deals.
3. Go with Big Name Companies. Seek insurance from companies you have heard of, such as, State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Progressive, Travelers, Hartford, Safeco. Avoid substandard companies, like Infinity, Windhaven (in receivership), Direct General, Ocean Harbor, and other obscure companies.
4. Full Coverage is not enough. Full Coverage usually means your car is insured by collision and comprehensive insurance. These coverages do not protect you if you are injured or if you cause an accident resulting in injury to another person.
5. Higher Limits Provide More Protection. However, you must make your own decision on the levels of insurance based on your budget and needs. You can also purchase an “Umbrella Policy” to add a second layer of protection for both bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist coverage.
Insurance Coverages Explained
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (“BI”)
Bodily injury liability coverage is generally not required in Florida. BI pays for serious and permanent injury or death to others when your car is involved in an accident and the driver of your car is found to be at fault to some extent. This coverage pays for injuries caused by you and relatives who live with you, even if they are driving someone else’s car. It also covers people who drive your car with your permission. With this type of policy, the insurance company also will pay for your legal defense if you are sued.
Uninsured Motorist (“UM”)
Uninsured Motorist insurance pays if you, your passengers or family members are hit by someone who is “at fault” and does not have insurance, or has insufficient liability insurance to cover the total damages sustained by you. This applies whether you are riding in your car, riding in someone else’s car or are struck by a car as a pedestrian. UM insurance also applies in a hit-and-run situation, or in a “phantom” vehicle accident. UM insurance pays for medical expenses, lost wages (beyond your PIP coverage), bodily injury, sickness, disease or death resulting from a motor vehicle accident that you and your passengers suffer.
Property Damage Liability Insurance (“PD”)
Property damage liability insurance pays for damage that you, or members of your family, cause to another person’s property while driving. The term “property” includes, for example, a fence, telephone pole or building, as well as another car. Coverage applies even if you drive someone else’s car. Depending on the terms and conditions of your policy, it may also include anyone else who uses your car with your permission.
Personal Injury Protection (“PIP” or “No-Fault Insurance”)
Personal Injury Protection insurance covers you regardless of whether you cause an accident (are “at fault”) – up to $10,000 minus your deductible amount. PIP is designed to reduce the necessity of suing for reimbursement of medical and related bills from auto accidents. To be entitled to PIP benefits, you must receive initial services and care within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident. PIP pays:
– 80% of reasonable medical expenses related to the accident.
– 60% of lost wages as a result of the accident.
– $5,000 for death benefits.
For accidents that happen in Florida, PIP covers you, relatives who live in your home, certain passengers who do not own a vehicle, and others who drive your car with your permission. Pedestrians and bicyclists are entitled to PIP coverage. PIP coverage also provides coverage for acts of violence against the policyholder while driving, including injuries sustained as a result of road rage or a carjacking.
For accidents that happen outside Florida but inside the U.S. or Canada, PIP covers you and relatives who live in your home. In this case, you must be driving your own vehicle. People other than you or your relatives are not covered.
Medical Payments coverage pays for the portion of medical expenses not paid by PIP. For example, PIP pays 80% of the medical bills and Medical Payments pays the 20% co-payment providing 100% medical coverage. Passengers in your vehicle may also be covered. Medical payments insurance differs from bodily injury liability coverage in that it covers the medical expenses of you, members of your family and your passengers regardless of who is “at fault.” Medical payment insurance applies whether the injury occurs in your car or someone else’s car, or on the street as a pedestrian.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle when it collides with another vehicle or object (e.g., a tree, a guardrail). For example, if you hit another car, moving or parked, or you hit a tree that has fallen into the road, collision coverage will kick in to pay the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, after you pay your deductible. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, your protection extends to when you are driving a rental car as well.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle due to fire, hail, theft, vandalism, or impact with an animal.
Rental Car Insurance
If you file a comprehensive or collision claim, Rental Car Insurance will pay all or part of the expense of renting a car. This insurance is always very inexpensive.
Example of Excellent Coverage
This image is from a bill from State Farm Insurance Company providing insurance for a sedan. This policy has more than the state minimum insurance coverage and higher policy limits. This policy is an example of the various insurance coverages you need. The monthly premium is about $120 per month.