Auto Accident Settlement
I Was in a Car Accident and I’m Confused About the Different Insurance Coverages
Insurance is something you always want to have but hope to never use. Unfortunately, you could be involved in a car accident at any time. Then you’ll find yourself in a position where you have to rely upon an insurance settlement to pay you back for your medical costs, vehicle repairs, and other damages.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we understand how confusing and stressful it can be to deal with insurers. We offer you a lifeline in your difficult time by assessing all of your damages, assisting with the claims process, and dealing with any obstacles insurers want to throw your way. With the help of our Florida car accident attorneys, you increase the chances your insurance settlements will make you financially whole again after your wreck.
To help you navigate the tricky world of insurance, here are the policy types you need to know about after your wreck:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Every vehicle owner in Florida is required by law to have a $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy.
Your PIP policy provides you with coverage in the event you are hurt in an accident. This coverage is available regardless of who was at fault for the accident. You can file for PIP immediately after your wreck, and you can list your PIP carrier as your policy provider when you receive care at the emergency room, clinic, or doctor’s office.
PIP insurance covers:
- 80% of necessary medical costs in the event of an emergency, including transport, diagnostics, treatment, testing, and more. Also includes most follow-up care
- Any reasonable and necessary costs directly related to treatment, such as transportation or parking costs
- Up to 66 ⅔ of your lost wages when you are too hurt to return to work or if you cannot work your normal duties
- Up to $5,000 in funeral and burial costs for the next-of-kin in the event the policyholder dies from their injuries
PIP coverage applies first, and all other forms of coverage come after. If your damage costs exceed the coverage limit of the PIP policy, you will need to look to other forms of insurance, including bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage from any at-fault drivers involved in your accident.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) Insurance
Property Damage Liability (PDL) is the other type of insurance required when you own a vehicle in Florida. This coverage pays for damages you cause in the event you are determined to be responsible for an accident. In other words, Florida’s “no-fault” insurance rules only apply to injuries covered by PIP!
PDL covers vehicle repairs and other costs inflicted by a wreck, including replacing any damaged property like cell phones. The minimum amount of PDL coverage in Florida is $10,000, but policyholders can always choose to increase their coverage.
Importantly, when another driver is at fault for your collision, you will need to use their PDL insurance to pay for the costs of your own repairs and other damages. You will file a claim with their PDL provider, who may require you to first get your vehicle inspected at a specific repair shop and obtain an estimate before they offer a settlement.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance
A Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) policy is another type of insurance that covers other people in the event you cause a collision. Unlike most other states, Florida does not automatically require BIL coverage. The one exception is if you are a commercial driver, then your employer must provide a minimum of $125,000 per person or $250,000 per accident in BIL coverage.
Many non-commercial drivers in Florida decide to get a BIL policy because it’s a good idea! In the event that another driver hurts you and your medical costs exceed the $10,000 PIP limit, you will need to file under their BIL policy. You can also file a BIL claim against any at-fault drivers if you have a qualifying “serious injury” as defined by Florida law.
There are two important things to know about BIL coverage:
- It repays you for the costs not covered by PIP, including the remaining 20% of medical care and 33 ⅓ of any applicable lost wages. Also, unlike PIP, BIL can give you compensation for your own pain and suffering.
- You have to prove that the other driver was at fault before you can use their BIL coverage. This is easy in some situations, but tricky in others. A Florida car accident attorney can assist you with proving fault and handling your BIL claim.
Other Types of Coverage You Can Have on Your Auto Insurance Policy
PDL and BIL are the types of insurance you need to know about in the event of an accident that is carried by other drivers. There are also a few policy types you can purchase that cover you for your own damages in the event of an accident.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance
Comprehensive insurance covers you for vehicle repairs in situations where something else other than you or another driver caused an accident. Common examples include natural disasters, theft, vandalism, hail, some types of storm damage, and animal collisions. A comprehensive policy add-on is usually inexpensive and can broaden your coverage to a variety of situations that are out of your control.
Collision insurance covers nearly every situation not covered by PDL and comprehensive. In other words, it can cover you even in the event of an accident where you were at fault. That includes situations where you back into something or make a mistake on the road, leading to a wreck.
Adding collision coverage can be expensive, but you do have options. High deductible policies, for instance, have a lower monthly rate but require you to pay for the initial costs of repairs up to your deductible amount. Once your deductible is “met”, your insurance coverage will then come into effect.
Be sure to carefully review your collision insurance policy for covered events, the provided benefits, and important exceptions or exemptions that could leave you in a situation where you’re uncovered.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
A UM/UIM policy add-on provides you with coverage in a situation where someone who hits you does not have the needed insurance or they do not have enough coverage to pay for all of your losses. With some carriers, UM/UIM can even provide coverage for a hit-and-run.
UM/UIM add-ons are usually inexpensive, and they provide you with a type of “safety net” in a variety of situations. It is especially helpful in Florida, where thousands of drivers don’t have BIL insurance because they are not required to. In fact, one in five drivers in Florida don’t have any insurance at all, making UM/UIM a particularly good idea.
Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage
A MedPay add-on acts similarly to PIP in that it covers you for the costs of your own injuries related to an auto accident. MedPay is also available regardless of fault, although your carrier will expect you to exhaust your PIP and any available BIL coverage before you use it. MedPay also comes into effect before you have to use your own private health insurance coverage.
You may have a health insurance policy — although millions of Americans don’t. If you do, your health insurance can cover the costs of your medical treatment and directly related expenses after your crash. Importantly, though, health insurance providers expect you to exhaust every other form of insurance before relying on them when you are hurt in a wreck. That means PIP, primarily, but it can also refer to BIL coverage in certain instances.
However, you will likely need to rely upon your health insurer to pay for the initial costs of treatment while you wait to settle your remaining claims. In this scenario, your health insurance provider will recover (or “subrogate”) the costs of your care that were later covered by another insurance provider.
Who Do I File With? Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney for Help
When you are involved in an accident — especially one where you get hurt — you may need some assistance determining what to do next. A good rule of thumb is to always use your PIP first and then determine if a third-party liability policy is available to cover you for the rest of your losses. Once third-party options are exhausted, you can start to use your own remaining insurance coverage, such as collision/comprehensive.
Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is here to assist you any time you have difficulties dealing with insurance claims. We have helped thousands of individuals like you all along the Treasure Coast and Lake Okeechobee areas when they needed us most. We’ll provide you with a consultation and case review free of charge and with no obligation when you call (866) 460-1990 or contact us online.
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