How Florida’s Minimum Insurance Coverage Limits Can Come Back to Haunt You

You have probably seen the commercials – “We have the cheapest auto insurance around!” and “Don’t let your insurance costs break the bank!” Many auto insurance companies advertise their lowest rate insurance in the hopes of expanding their customer base, but the lowest price policy usually means you are getting the least amount of insurance coverage. And in Florida, the minimum amount of coverage is shockingly low.

Minimum Insurance Coverage in Florida

Florida law only requires Florida residents to have $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability. You are required, by law, to purchase this minimum coverage, though you have the option to purchase better coverage.

Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that if you are seriously hurt in an auto accident, your car insurance should pay your medical costs up to your policy’s limits, regardless of who caused the accident. Your personal injury protection insurance should also cover:

  • Your child and other members of your household
  • Passengers in your car who do not have their own personal injury protection insurance and do not own a vehicle
  • You while you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle

But here is the issue – if you purchase only the minimum amount of insurance coverage mandated by law, you’re exposing yourself to significant liability if you or a loved one is involved in a serious automobile accident.

A Scary, But Too Common Example

How so? If you only have $10,000 in personal injury protection, anything over $10,000 is left to you individually. So, let’s say you are involved in a serious auto accident on North Miami Beach Boulevard or Overseas Highway and the other driver is forced to stay in the local hospital for two weeks due to the severity of their injuries. The medical bills are extensive, totaling over $30,000. This means that your $10,000 in personal injury protection will be exhausted immediately and that remaining $20,000 are damages that the injured party can pursue against you in a personal injury lawsuit (depending on who caused the accident). Do you really want to have your personal assets exposed to such liability? It makes more sense to pay a little more per month for better automobile insurance coverage.

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by CJ Sorg via flickr
Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by CJ Sorg via flickr

The converse is true as well. Imagine that you get seriously hurt in an auto accident and the other driver only has minimum insurance coverage. You have thousands of dollars in medical bills and the other driver’s coverage will only pay a portion of your bills. You now have to pursue a claim against the other driver individually in the hopes of pursuing restitution for your outstanding medical bills and other damages (e.g., lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.). The process would be much easier if the other driver had better insurance coverage to cover all of your medical bills.

Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

An optional form of coverage is called “uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage” (a.k.a. UM/UIM coverage). This form of coverage protects you in case you are the victim of a hit and run accident or the other driver simply has no insurance coverage. It is a good investment and worth the extra money to get UM/UIM coverage. You don’t want to be stuck holding the bag with thousands of dollars in medical bills and no source of insurance coverage to access after a serious accident.

Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you were hurt in an auto accident and have questions about available insurance coverage or the laws that apply to your accident, consider the experienced automobile accident legal team at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. Contact us today at (305) 653-5555 or fill out our online contact form to get your free, no obligation consultation today!