It seems like it would be obvious, but no-fault insurance isn’t as simple as it sounds…
Florida, like a handful of other states, is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents and insurance. While it might sound obvious, many drivers are actually confused about what the no-fault law is and how it pertains to your car insurance.
No fault insurance does not refer to neither driver being at fault in an accident. Rather, it means all drivers must have at least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their car insurance policy, and that is what they’d use first to cover medical expenses—no matter which driver caused the accident.
Read on to learn more about no-fault insurance so you know how it protects you and what the limitations are.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?
When you are in an accident, even if you are not at fault, if you require medical attention, your own PIP coverage would trigger first to cover your expenses.
It might seem counterintuitive to have to use your own insurance when the other driver is at fault, but the purpose of the no-fault law is to expedite medical treatment rather than wait for insurance companies to debate who should be paying for what.
Medical expenses covered can include emergency room visits, ambulance rides, specialist visits, rehabilitation costs, and more. Your PIP will cover 80% of your medical bills up to a total of $10,000 (if that’s the coverage amount you selected), but that isn’t necessarily the amount you’ll receive. The maximum amount is determined by the severity of your injuries and the medical treatment needed.
It can also help cover lost wages if you’re unable to work for a period of time and death benefits.
Florida’s 14-day accident law also plays a huge role in no-fault insurance.
This law stipulates that accident victims must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident for their PIP coverage to apply. This means that even if you don’t see or feel any major injuries immediately after your accident, it’s a smart idea to see a doctor to uncover any hidden injuries that may develop in the following weeks or months.
PIP can be very helpful in getting your medical expenses covered quickly, but if you’re involved in a more severe accident, no-fault insurance has limitations.
What Are the Limitations of No-Fault Insurance?
First off, your no-fault insurance is limited to personal injuries, not to property damage. It also only covers your own personal injuries and medical expenses. An exception to this rule can be resident relatives, but make sure to check your individual policy to understand the exact coverage that you have and to whom it applies.
If there are passengers in your car injured in the accident, your PIP will often not cover their expenses. Instead, different coverages would come into play, such as their own PIP (PIP follows the person, not the car) third party Bodily Injury Liability, Uninsured Motorist Liability, and others.
Bodily Injury Liability is not required for all drivers in Florida, but it is highly recommended. It can help cover medical expenses for injured third-parties when you’re at-fault, and it can also protect you in the event you’re sued because of an accident.
Your PIP coverage also depends on the amount of coverage you select on your policy. If your medical expenses exceed your policy’s limit, you will either have to pay the remaining costs out-of-pocket, use your health insurance, or sue the at-fault driver for the damages.
What Does This Mean If I’m At Fault?
If you are determined to be the at-fault driver, the no-fault insurance law has some benefits for you.
For starters, in the event of minor accidents involving damages below the applicable PIP limit, you are not liable for the medical expenses of the other driver (unless that limit is exceeded either in practice or by legal demand). And just like the other driver, you won’t have to wait to hear back from your insurance agent about receiving benefits to cover your own medical expenses.
The no-fault law is meant to eliminate lawsuits and expedite medical treatment and benefits for most minor accidents, and it applies to both drivers equally.
One of the major drawbacks of the no-fault law for both drivers is that those states tend to have higher insurance premiums than other states.
Get the No-Fault Coverage You Need with Harry Levine Insurance
While Florida’s no-fault law requires a minimum amount of coverage for all drivers, your personal insurance needs are unique to you. That’s where an independent insurance agency like Harry Levine Insurance comes in.
We work for you, not the insurance companies, so we can create a custom auto policy that perfectly fits your communicated needs and your personally selected budget. We’ll educate you on the coverage that we recommend for you based on your lifestyle, not only the state’s requirements.
Contact us today to get your auto insurance questions answered or get a free, custom quote instantly.