Approximately 200,000 accidents are recorded each year in Florida.  The scary reality is that Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the country to drive in. It is also a no-fault state which comes with certain requirements for insured drivers that are different than other states. This can create some confusion for Florida drivers when it comes to evaluating their car insurance policies. As a law firm specializing in personal injury cases, it should be no surprise that many of the cases we work on involve car accidents in Pinellas. Many of our clients have what would be considered a “Full Coverage” auto insurance policy and are shocked when it does not provide enough to cover the medical bills and/or the property damage fees resulting from their accident.

A Floridian involved in a motorcycle accident fills out their injury claim form.

The term “full coverage auto insurance policy” is used often by insurance providers in order to describe a policy that should protect drivers in most types of incidents. However, the reality is that this won’t cover medical expenses if you or a loved one is seriously injured in a car accident. It just means that your car insurance includes the mandatory coverages: personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability insurance. The goal of this blog post is to educate more Florida drivers about what full coverage really means and why they may need to invest in a more comprehensive policy.

The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post

  • 1
    Florida drivers need full coverage insurance to cover liabilities and damages from an accident.
  • 2
    Typical policies in Florida include liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.
  • 3
    Rates vary depending on the driver’s profile, types of coverage, limits and deductibles.
  • 4
    In a no-fault state, PIP only covers up to $10,000 in damages – often not enough to cover medical bills.
  • 5
    Around 20% of drivers in Florida do not have any insurance.
  • 6
    Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage protects against the risk of uninsured drivers.
  • 7
    To ensure proper coverage, policyholders must formally reject uninsured motorist coverage in writing.
  • 8
    Talking to a personal injury lawyer before filing a car accident claim is recommended – they can help negotiate with insurers and get evidence needed for the claim.

What Do Florida Drivers Get With Full Coverage Car Insurance?

The “full coverage” auto insurance in Pinellas, where your car is completely covered, would be ideal. What exactly does “full coverage” mean? How can this term be misleading when choosing the right vehicle coverage? The term “full coverage” for car insurance does not have a standard definition. It’s important to customize a car insurance policy to suit your individual needs rather than buy a one-size-fits-all policy. Consider how much protection you need for your assets and properties. You may have a different version of full coverage insurance than someone else. In Florida, your typical full-coverage car insurance policy includes at least liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Comprehensive coverage pays for your car’s repair if it is damaged in a storm, by an animal attack, by a flood, by a fire, or if it is stolen or vandalized. If you get into an accident, collision covers any damage to your vehicle (unlike liability, which only covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle).

How Much Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cost in Florida?

Types of coverage, limits, and deductibles affect your premium. It is important to remember this when comparing car insurance rates. Those who choose to carry higher limits of coverage than the state requires will probably have to pay a higher premium than those with the state’s minimum limits. It is normal for the cost of those coverages to be lower if you choose a higher deductible. Florida drivers pay on average $1257 a year or $104 a month for full coverage auto insurance. Here is a breakdown of the premium cost of the site:

  • $32 for medical payments
  • $117 for comprehensive coverage
  • $188 for PIP insurance
  • $283 for collision protection
  • $858 for liability coverage

You can reduce your insurance costs by comparing policies and asking about driver discounts. Insurance rates also vary significantly based on your driving history. You pay more if you are a young driver or if you have a history of violations and claims than if you were an older driver without tickets or accidents.

How Coverage Minimums Are Impacted By Florida Being a No Fault State

The no-fault system in Florida means that your PIP insurance covers your injuries regardless of which driver caused the accident. If you have permanent injuries or if you suffer medical bills or lose income totaling at least $10,000 following an accident, you can still sue the at-fault driver. Your optional bodily injury policy will pay the damages if you are the at-fault driver. Without bodily injury insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket. In this case, you should submit a claim through your PIP policy first. You are covered for 80 percent of all your medical expenses under this plan. The policy of the at-fault driver kicks in if you suffer serious injuries, which in Florida means:

  • Full disability for a period of at least 90 days.
  • Loss of organ function or system failure.
  • Broken bones.
  • Permanent disfigurement.

Following an auto accident in Florida, the bodily injury coverage of the at-fault driver may pay for the court-ordered settlement as well as the legal fees of the other driver. If a driver has only minimum auto insurance, he or she is responsible for paying these costs.

Florida recognizes comparative fault as well, which means that two drivers have equal responsibility in an accident. In the event of an injury lawsuit, if the court finds the injured driver was only 10 percent at fault, but the other driver had 90 percent, the plaintiff could recover only 90 percent of the injury-related expenses.