Florida is one of 10 states requiring personal injury protection (PIP) or “no-fault” insurance to operate a vehicle legally. PIP insurance in Florida is designed to cover injuries that occur during a vehicle accident, no matter who is at fault.
What Costs Fall Under Florida PIP Coverage?
PIP insurance covers three main categories of expenses: medical costs, death benefits, and lost wages due to injuries.
Florida requires insurance companies to provide up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage for drivers injured in vehicle accidents, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident. The goal is to help injured individuals receive reimbursement for their medical expenses quickly and to reduce the strain on the court system by limiting the number of accident claims.
Personal injury protection covers most medical costs related to injuries. In some cases, this coverage might be superior to your primary medical insurance. Note, however, that the policy might exclude experimental or new types of medical treatments, such as acupuncture. Medical costs that PIP insurance typically covers include:
- Medical services
- Prescription medication
- Surgical services
- Rehabilitation costs
- Diagnostic services
- Ambulatory services
The medical cost portion of PIP coverage in Florida differs slightly from other states that require PIP coverage. In Florida, this type of insurance only covers 80% of medical costs. For example, if you incur $20,000 in medical bills, you can expect your PIP insurance to cover approximately $16,000 of those costs. Nonemergency injuries are capped at a $2,500 limit per incident.
It’s also important to note that other states extend PIP coverage to all those in the household automatically. In Florida, you can choose to cover just yourself or to include your household. Before making this decision, determine if your primary health insurance will cover the costs of vehicle accident injuries.
If you become disabled due to injuries sustained in an auto accident, you might receive compensation for lost wages under your PIP coverage. You can receive 60% of your wages lost due to the injury, up to $10,000. If you can no longer perform certain services, such as child care or cleaning, after the accident, you might receive lost wage funds to cover the cost of outsourcing those services.
If a PIP policyholder dies in a vehicle accident, their next of kin would receive $5,000 to help with the cost of funeral and burial expenses. PIP insurance also covers these expenses if a passenger in your vehicle dies in a crash.
How To Save Money on PIP Coverage in Florida
The required amount of PIP coverage is $10,000. While you might not be able to adjust your coverage, you can reduce your premium costs by choosing a higher deductible or using exclusions when selecting your policy. The maximum deductible you can opt for is $1,000, which will reduce your rate the most.
You can also choose to exclude wage loss, but this typically only reduces your annual premium by a small amount. The other option is to exclude other household members, but first ensure they’re covered under other policies.
Filing a PIP Claim in Florida
It is important to know the process for filing a PIP claim in Florida. Failing to follow the process correctly can result in your claim being denied. One of the most critical factors for filing a claim is timeliness. You must receive treatment for the injuries from the accident within two weeks of it occurring.
If you follow these steps, you should receive payment for your claim in one month. Due to high fraud rates, however, the insurance company might investigate your claim for up to 60 days. This can occur even after it has been paid out. If any part of the claim is determined to be false or fraudulent, you are responsible for repaying the funds.
To put in a claim for lost wages, your employer must submit a “Wage and Salary” verification. This form confirms your wages for the 13 weeks before the accident occurred. Your physician might also need to write a letter saying your injuries prevent you from working. It’s critical to get all this documentation to the insurance company promptly to avoid a holdup in payment.
Can You Still Sue for Injuries?
While PIP requirements are often used to reduce the number of lawsuits, you can still sue for damages in some instances. In most states, drivers have the right to sue the other party when the injuries result in death, permanent injury, or severe disfigurement. This is true in Florida, except that drivers can sue for less catastrophic injuries if they exceed the $10,000 in coverage. In this case, you can sue for the amount of your medical costs over $10,000. You can also sue for emotional pain and suffering.
You must have proof of PIP coverage from a licensed insurance company or listed on a qualifying self-insurance certificate if you own a vehicle in Florida. The vehicle must have this coverage at the time of registration and for the required $10,000 minimum amount. This coverage must be continuous, even if the vehicle is not driven or no longer operable.
If you are not a resident of Florida, you are not required to have PIP coverage unless:
- You accept or engage in any form of employment in Florida
- You have children enrolled in a Florida public school
Penalties for Improper Coverage
If you don’t have the required PIP coverage when operating a vehicle, you could have your driving privileges, vehicle registration, or both suspended for up to three years. You will be ineligible for a hardship driver’s license if your suspension results from improper insurance coverage.
To ensure you’re compliant, maintain PIP coverage until you turn your license plate into the motor vehicle center. Canceling your coverage beforehand could result in a registration suspension. If your driver’s license or registration is suspended, you might be required to pay a reinstatement fee of up to $500 once the suspension is lifted.
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