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Florida Auto Insurance Breakdown From Southwest Florida Injury Lawyers

woman driving a car in Florida auto insurance breakdown from Cape Coral injury lawyersCar insurance is more expensive in Florida than any other state. Insurance Business Magazine reports the average annual auto insurance premium in Florida is $2,560 – which is 52% (or nearly $1,000) higher than the national average. (And that is based on rates for a hypothetical 40-year-old male driver with a good driving record. Rates can get much higher for teens or those with a poor driving record.) Such significant costs have some motorists wondering whether there’s certain coverage they can forego. Here, our Southwest Florida injury lawyers provide a Florida auto insurance breakdown from a civil claims perspective.

Why is Car Insurance So Much Pricier in Florida?

Although one could reasonably argue that insurance companies have never needed a good reason to impose sky-high rates on customers, there are a few factors that result in Florida car insurance being so much higher than the national average.

A couple of these reasons include:

  • Florida is prone to more extreme weather. Hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, tornadoes, lightning, brush fires, heavy fog – all of these things can increase the risk of vehicles being damaged, either directly or in a related crash.
  • Florida’s high number of uninsured drivers. In Florida, 1 in 5 drivers does not have the required auto insurance. ThisĀ makes the claims process tough, and lawsuits tend to be more likely. With two insured drivers, a lawsuit may be wholly unnecessary, as Cape Coral Car Accident lawyers can often simply negotiate fair terms directly with insurers. But if the other party had no insurance, you’re usually left with pursuing a claim against that individual personally, filing third-party liability claims, or seeking uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims from your own insurer. And if you’re the driver who is not insured, it doesn’t mean you can’t recover damages from the other at-fault party, but you will lose out on the claims for personal injury protection (PIP) as well as UM/UIM.

You might also expect to pay more if you:

  • Have poor credit. Florida does not prohibit use of this factor in premium rates the way some other states do.
  • Are male. Florida does not prohibit the use of this factor in premium rates the way some other states do.
  • Live in an urban area. Cities are packed with tight streets, loads of traffic, and a higher concentration of pedestrians, bicyclists, and large vehicles. The risk of vehicle damage is much higher.
  • Live in an area with high crime rates. The heightened risk of theft and vandalism will hike up rates.
  • Have an expensive or highly desirable car. Vehicles that are more costly to repair or particularly prone to theft will be pricier to insure.

What Coverage is Required for Florida Drivers

As longtime injury lawyers in Southwest Florida, we’ve seen a lot of crash victims put at a significant disadvantage because of lacking car insurance coverage. While it’s true that this is a no-fault state for crash claims, meaning your own insurer will cover damages regardless of fault, you must keep in mind that this coverage (PIP) only goes so far – $10,000, to be exact. And even then, it only covers PART of your losses – 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages.

If you’re seriously hurt and the other driver was at-fault, you’ll need to step outside the no-fault system to pursue a claim against that driver, your Underinsured Motorist Carrier (or other liable third parties).

But let’s start with what is required minimum car insurance coverage for registered vehicles Florida:

  • $10,000 PIP. This is no-fault coverage that will provide you with some compensation for medical bills and lost wages, even if you were at-fault. It also provides a $5,000 death benefit. It covers the insured and any relatives who live in the home, certain passengers who don’t own the vehicle, and others who drive the car with your permission. It can extend to pedestrians and bicyclists, and can be paid for acts of violence against a policyholder while driving – such as carjacking or road rage. It’s not an option for motorcyclists, though, and it will only cover $2,000 if the damage claim isn’t made within 14 days.
  • $10,000 in PDL (property damage liability). This pays for damage to another person’s property caused by you or someone else driving your insured vehicle. This is generally not required for motorcyclists.

If you have just these, you might be categorized as having “full coverage.” But that term is misleading. It doesn’t mean you can expect your injuries – or the damages you cause to others – to be “fully covered (we’ll get to how you can do that below).”

Per the National Safety Council, the average economic cost of a car accident with no injuries is $6,700. If there are evident injuries, that average cost shoots up to $40,000. (Note: This figure does not take into account comprehensive losses, or the value of lost quality of life for those injured.)Ā  If there are disabling injuries, the average cost is $155,000. So $10,000 is not nearly enough to cover even a meaningful amount of damages for those seriously injured in a Lee County, Florida car accident.

Coverage Not Required (But Highly Recommended)

Notably Florida does not require most drivers to carry either bodily injury liability coverage OR UM/UIM coverage. Cape Coral car accident lawyers auto insurance claim form

BIL covers serious and permanent injury or death to others when your car is involved in the crash and the driver is found at least partially to blame. BIL will also cover your legal defense if you’re sued for the crash.

UM/UIM coverage is insurance you buy that pays you, your passengers, or live-in family members who are injured in an accident where someone else was at-fault and that driver either didn’t have insurance (1 in 5 drivers in Florida) or didn’t have enough insurance to fully cover your damages. Although UM/UIM coverage isn’t required, you do have to sign a waiver to forego it. Also, you can’t get UM/UIM without also getting an equal amount of BIL coverage.

So in this Florida auto insurance breakdown, the question isn’t whether there is required coverage you can forego, but rather, “What additional coverage do you truly need?”

Strictly from a Cape Coral injury lawyer standpoint, in addition to UM/UIM and BIL coverage, we’d urge drivers to consider having:

  • Medical payment insurance. This covers medical expenses beyond those covered by PIP, and it is paid regardless of fault. If you have a good health insurance policy, this might not be as critical, but it’s worth considering – especially if you regularly operate a motorcycle.
  • Collision coverage. If you hit another vehicle or an object like a fence or pole, collision coverage can help cover the cost of your property damage.
  • Gap coverage. If your car is totaled in a crash and you owe a lot more than the car was worth (vehicle value depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot), gap insurance can make up the difference. It’s only available to original loan or leaseholders.
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Sometimes referred to as AD&D, it’s often tacked on as an added benefit or rider to specific types of health insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance. It provides coverage when the policyholder is accidentally killed or seriously injured due to circumstances outside their control – which can include a car accident in which you aren’t at-fault.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Southwest Florida, contact our team to learn more about your legal options for recovering financial damages.

If you have been injured in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Cape Coral, Naples, or Key West, contact Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Florida Insurance Requirements, FLHSMV

More Blog Entries:

How Speeding Can Diminish Your Cape Coral Car Accident Claim, Aug. 29, 2023, Cape Coral Car Crash Lawyer Blog

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