What You Need to Know About Auto Insurance
14 Days to See a Doctor:
If you or a loved one is involved in an automobile accident, you must seek medical treatment within fourteen (14) days, or you get NONE of the car accident insurance you paid for.
Florida’s No-Fault law’s changes became effective on January 1st. The law now states that if a person injured in a car accident waits to see if his or her injuries will improve and fails to seek medical care within two weeks of the accident, the person’s insurance carrier does not have to pay for any medical treatment or lost wages even though the person paid for this coverage.
Simply put, a car insurance policy is a “contract” between you and your insurance company providing that the insurance company will pay for certain losses provided for in the policy in exchange for your insurance premium. Car insurance is a necessary protection for you and your family. But remember, it provides protection for specific, car related financial losses that occur only within the effective period (the period in which your insurance policy provides coverage) of the insurance policy. The specific losses that will be paid by your insurance company when an accident occurs are spelled out (sometimes in confusing terms) in your policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage will be discussed in more detail below. It is one of the most important coverages because it protects you and your family. You should always buy as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can possibly afford. In addition, you should opt for stacking coverages if you are financially able to.
What the insurance company will pay when an accident or loss occurs is called “coverage.” It is very important that you take the time to read your insurance policy, understand it, and know the type and amount of coverage you have for your family. If you need assistance understanding your insurance policy, call your insurance agent or an attorney at our law firm for assistance. This will help you understand what type of protection you and your family have and what additional coverage should be purchased, if any.
There are different types of automobile coverage that you can purchase. The coverages listed below usually have separate premiums. Your total premium is made up of the total costs all of the coverages that you purchase. The common auto coverages are as follows:
- Bodily Injury Liability (also referred to as “BI” coverage):
This pays for losses your vehicle causes to others if you injure or kill somebody while driving your car. It also pays for a legal defense if the person you injure makes a claim or files a lawsuit against you. When determining how much bodily injury liability coverage to purchase you should consider purchasing enough coverage to protect your personal assets in case a judgment is obtained against you;
- Personal Injury Protection (also referred to as “PIP” and “No Fault”):
This is required in the State of Florida and pays for certain medical expenses, wage losses, death benefits and related expenses caused by a car accident regardless of who is at fault. This may also provide coverage to your passengers and to you if you are a pedestrian;
- Uninsured Motorists Coverage (also referred to as “UM”):
Allows you to collect money from your own insurance company for your injuries if you are injured by an un-insured or under-insured driver. This type of coverage can also protect injured pedestrians, victims of “hit and runs,” and people who live in your household. Because of the large percentage of uninsured drivers on the roads, this is very important coverage to have for you and your family;
- Property Damage Liability:
Pays for the property damage you cause to someone’s property by your negligent driving. Given the expensive cars on the road today it is important that you have adequate property damage coverage;
- Collision coverage:
Pays for damage to your vehicle caused by another vehicle or some other object. The price of this coverage can be kept reasonable by getting a higher deductible amount (portion of covered loss that is your responsibility – common deductibles are $100, $250, $500, $1000);
- Comprehensive physical damage coverage:
Pays for damage to your car caused by situations other than collisions (such as by floods, animals, stolen vehicles, etc.).
Your insurance company should provide you an insurance card with basic information regarding your coverage, contact information in case an accident happens, and confirmation that you have the minimum coverage required by Florida law (PIP). Florida law requires that you keep a copy of your insurance card with you at all times when you drive a vehicle. All vehicles that are registered in the State of Florida are required to have Florida insurance coverage (regardless of where the vehicle is maintained). Your insurance card will indicate which vehicles are insured and whether it is Florida insurance coverage.
In addition to the card, you should maintain a complete copy of your automobile insurance policy at your home in a safe place that is easily accessible.