Understanding Your Florida PIP Benefits

All drivers in Florida are required by law to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of $10,000 and property damage liability (PDL) insurance of a similar amount. In addition, drivers have the option of buying bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, and uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

At the Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC, our attorneys offers a free initial consultation to answer your questions about Florida PIP coverage. Firm founder Paul K. Schrier often testifies for doctors as an expert witness in PIP disputes with insurance companies. He has tried cases against all major insurance companies in Florida.

Get answers to your questions about Florida no-fault insurance. Call 800-377-5194 to speak to a lawyer.

Personal Injury Protection Insurance And The No-Fault System

Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover you, your family or any person in your car injured after an accident. Persons in your car who have their own PIP coverage either through their own car or that of a family member will be covered by their own insurance policy. PIP doesn't only apply to auto-to-auto collisions. It also covers pedestrians injured by a car, cyclists knocked down by trucks or children hurt by a school bus.

PIP coverage will pay:

  • 80 percent of medical expenses, plus mileage reimbursement for doctor visits
  • 60 percent of lost wages
  • $5,000 for funeral expenses
  • Costs for household services you can no longer perform because of your injury

Florida law limits PIP benefits to a total of $2,500 unless you suffer from an emergency medical condition. An example of an emergency medical condition is serious impairment of a bodily organ or function.

If you have an emergency medical condition, PIP will pay up to the limit of your coverage. While $10,000 in PIP coverage is required by Florida law, you can purchase additional coverage. Since PIP is coverage you purchase for yourself and your loved ones, you should consider buying more than the minimum. If you are injured in an accident, $10,000 will not go far in paying your medical bills.

PIP coverage is why Florida is categorized as a "no-fault state." Irrespective of who caused a car crash, each party will submit their injury claim to their own insurer. While the no-fault system has been praised for keeping premiums low by reducing litigation, others have argued that it actually reduces the drivers' sense of responsibility, increases incidents of reckless driving and leads to higher accident fatalities overall.

Florida PIP does not cover injuries suffered in a motorcycle wreck.

Exceptions To The No-Fault Rule

The no-fault principle requires that the first $10,000 in medical costs be charged to your PIP insurer. Car accidents can cause a wide range of serious injuries, including compound fractures, paralysis, brain damage and the puncturing of vital internal organs. In the worst case, the crash may lead to death.

If death results, or if your injuries and associated costs are so high that they exceed your PIP coverage, you can seek compensation for the additional cost from the at-fault driver's insurance company. Under Florida law, you can file a personal injury suit against the other driver's insurance company when either one or more of the following situations is present:

  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent disability, including hearing loss, blindness, brain damage and limb amputation
  • Death

You will likely need an attorney's help to sue the other driver's insurance company.

Property Damage Liability Insurance

Unlike the PIP, the property damage liability (PDL) is liability coverage. It provides for the damages incurred by the other person's car or property. For example, if you crashed through your neighbor's garage door or bumped into the back of a car ahead of you, your vehicle's PDL will cover the costs incurred by the other party.

PDL does not cover damages to your own vehicle. Florida law does not require you to have PDL coverage for your vehicle, although this is highly recommended.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

Bodily injury liability (BIL) is meant for the funeral and medical costs that another party to incur due to a collision you caused. BIL is mandatory in nearly all states. It is only optional in two states: Florida and New Hampshire. Having BIL coverage will increase your premiums, but will also reduce your liability if you cause a car crash that kills or seriously injures someone else.

Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Insurance

To a great extent, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is the opposite of BIL insurance. It provides for costs you or members of your household sustain in a car crash caused by a driver who is uninsured or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. UM/UIM covers not just any medical costs, but may also reimburse lost wages, pain and suffering.

Like BIL, UM cover is not mandatory. Still, it is useful when you consider that one out of every five drivers in Florida does not have any auto insurance. According to Insurance Research Council, Florida ranks second nationwide in the number of uninsured drivers. If you are in a crash with an uninsured driver who doesn't have enough assets to pay for your medical costs, you will be forced to foot the bills from your own pocket.

Call Us For A Free Consultation

Call 800-377-5194 or complete our contact form to get answers to your questions about Florida no-fault insurance. We have offices in Miami, Sunrise, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa.