PIP Insurance Claims in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault” state. Simply put, that means that no matter who is at fault in an accident, you must go to your own auto insurance to pay your medical bills. This insurance is referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. In Florida, this coverage is mandatory for all owners of automobiles on your auto insurance policy. If you are involved in an automobile accident, this coverage comes first before health insurance and supplemental insurance. Your auto insurance rates will not increase if you were not at fault in the accident. Premiums are determined in Florida based upon this concept.
Note: If you weren’t at fault in the accident, you also may claim against the person who was at fault for the balance of your medical bills over your PIP coverage, as well as any money or compensatory damages. However, your medical bills will still be paid at 80% by your own PIP carrier.
PIP coverage provides for payment of medical bills by your insurance company up to $10,000 (unless you buy additional “extended” PIP coverage, which would pay more than $10,000, or have Medical Payments Coverage, which would pay the other 20% that your PIP does not pay).
Under PIP, payment of medical bills is made at 80%, starting at your deductible. PIP also pays 60% of your lost wages. However, your coverage will total $10,000 (unless you buy additional coverage), and once that limit is reached by payment of both medical bills and lost wages, your PIP insurance company will no longer handle either.
The following people are covered under your PIP insurance:
- Your spouse;
- Any relative living with you at the time of the accident who doesn’t own a motor vehicle (whether they are in your auto or someone else’s and get into an accident, they will claim under your PIP as a resident relative);
- Drivers or passengers of your vehicle who don’t own a motor vehicle or live with a relative who owns a vehicle.
PIP coverage follows you. If you’re involved in an auto accident, as long as you come into contact with another motor vehicle, whether on a bicycle, as a pedestrian, in your car or someone else’s vehicle, you’re covered under your PIP and must present a claim to your PIP insurance carrier.
The following is an explanation of the type of insurance coverage available to drivers in Florida:
Property Damage Liability Coverage: This coverage pays the other party’s property damage if you are at fault in an accident. If you weren’t at fault in the accident, it doesn’t apply. Property Damage Liability Coverage and PIP are the only two coverages which are mandatory in the state of Florida.
Medical Payments Coverage (MEDPAY): This coverage provides payment of the other 20% of your medical bills that aren’t covered by PIP.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: This coverage applies only in the event that you are at fault in an accident. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage will pay money or compensatory damages to a claimant if he/she meets certain requirements under Florida’s No Fault Law, up to the limit of your coverage. Your insurance company also will pay your legal fees in the defense of your claim, if applicable.
Most states have statutes requiring that motorists have at least some Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. However, in Florida, only PIP and Property Damage Liability Coverage is mandatory. See below for important information regarding Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage.
Collision Coverage: If you are at fault in an accident or the at-fault party has no insurance coverage, this coverage would be important, as it may be the only source to pay for damage to your vehicle. Depending upon the value of your vehicle, you may consider adding this coverage.
Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist Protection (UM): In the event the at-fault party does not carry Bodily Injury Liability insurance, which pays money/compensatory damages to you in case of an auto accident, and which is not required in Florida, this coverage is crucial. Instead of making a claim for money damages to the at-fault party, the claim is made to your own insurance company and treated as if you were proceeding against the other party. Once money is paid to you in the form of a settlement or verdict rendered by a jury, your insurance company may elect to subrogate, or go after the other party for reimbursement of the amount paid to you. Additionally, this coverage also acts as Underinsured Motorist coverage if the at-fault party does have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage but it’s insufficient. In that case, you would be entitled to obtain the limits of the other party’s coverage and then proceed against your own UM for additional reimbursement up to the limit of your policy. If you have multiple vehicles on your policy, you may be able to “stack” or add these coverages together for additional limits.
There are certain requirements that you must follow. For example, you must obtain permission from your UM carrier to settle with the other party’s insurance company prior to signing a release. Therefore, legal advice is always recommended before proceeding with your claim.
Statistics show that there may be upwards of 50% of the driving population who don’t carry Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, let alone those who do not even have a current driver’s license. Therefore, UM coverage is of the utmost importance in Florida.
RTRLAW offers a free review of your current insurance policy. If you’d like us to review your policy, please schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by calling 833-HIRE-RTR or contact us today.
If you were injured in an accident, you can retain RTRLAW for legal services on a contingency fee basis with no upfront costs to you. You only pay if there is a recovery in your favor. Our attorneys are available 24/7 and can meet with you at one of our seven convenient locations in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Miami or Jacksonville. If you can’t come to our office, we will come to you, at your home, your place of employment or even at the hospital.