We spend a great deal of our time discussing injuries and accidents, but it is important to understand what is going on with your insurance before anything bad happens. With that in mind, some valuable insurance knowledge can help you get exactly what you need in order to be best covered and prepared for the possibility of a problem.
Ever heard someone tell you that they have “full coverage” on their car? Would you be surprised to know that “full coverage” means absolutely nothing in the insurance world? Maybe you're trying to say that you are fully covered to drive legally, or that you have all possible coverages available, but your insurance representative won't know what you mean without you specifically asking for the coverage you want.
The most basic coverage of all is liability coverage. Liability Coverage is what pays on your behalf when you are at-fault for the accident. Each state has its own requirement on the minimum limits; in Florida, you are required to carry at least $10,000.00 of liability coverage for property damage. Liability coverage can also include bodily injury coverage, which would protect you when you are at-fault for the accident and the other party suffers injuries; the state of Florida does not require bodily injury liability coverage.
Collision coverage is not usually required, unless you are financing a vehicle. Collision coverage will pay, regardless of fault, for the repairs of the vehicle after an accident; the accident may be a single-car crash or a multi-vehicle pile-up. Furthermore, if your vehicle gets totaled due to a crash, your insurance company will pay you for the value of your vehicle, instead of the repairs. It is important to remember that your coverage is reduced by the amount of your deductible; if you have a $6,000.00 repair estimate and a $500.00 deductible, the insurance company will only pay $5,500.00. The same thing applies if your car gets totaled. You will be responsible for the amount of the deductible.
Comprehensive coverage applies when you have a non-collision incident that results in damage to your car. If your car is parked in your driveway when a storm comes through and breaks off a tree branch onto your car, comprehensive coverage is what steps in to pay the damages. This coverage is also reduced by the amount of your deductible; whether it results in a total loss or a repairable outcome.
A deductible is the amount you are willing to pay to have your vehicle repaired, regardless of fault. You can choose your deductible, some companies even offer $0 deductibles for certain coverages, or based on your history with them. The lower your deductible, the higher your insurance cost; this is because you are placing more financial burden on the insurance company in the event you should have an accident.
Subrogation is when your insurance company pays out for damages and/or injuries, then works to get their money back plus your deductible (if you had to pay one) from the at-fault party. If you are at-fault, your insurance company will not be subrogating on your behalf.
Personal Injury Protection & Medical Payments Coverage
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) was designed to reduce lawsuits for minor injuries, and therefore provides coverage for those immediate medical bills resulting from an auto crash, regardless of fault. In Florida, your basic PIP coverage is $10,000.00, but that comes with a caveat: you must get treatment within 14 days of your loss and you must be certified as having an “EMC” or emergency/emergent medical condition. PIP is not subrogatable, meaning that your insurance company does not have the ability to get this money back. You can purchase extended PIP, and even choose a deductible if you wish to do so; again, your insurance will pay everything less your deductible.
Medical payments coverage (MedPay) provides you additional monies for injuries resulting from an auto crash. The main difference is that “medpay” coverage is subrogatable from the at-fault party.
This is a legal insurance filing for drivers who are considered “high risk” or for those who have had an at-fault accident without insurance. You will be notified by the state you are licensed in if you need to purchase or add the SR-22 to your insurance.
This page details the vehicles, drivers and coverages that apply to your policy of insurance. It may also show excluded drivers, endorsement form numbers and premium dollar amounts per coverage.
Many people assume that you are automatically suing somebody after a crash, however, you must first navigate the muddy waters of the claims process. The claims process can be daunting, especially considering the insurance jargon and all the paperwork that goes along with an insurance claim. If you find yourself overwhelmed, unsure or just have some questions, it is important that you contact someone you can trust, just like those of us here at the Fort Myers personal injury law firm of Goldberg Noone.
Michael Noone, a founding Partner, was formerly a Senior Claims Adjuster for the United States Fidelity & Guaranty Insurance Company from 1979 to 1984. His years of experience in the insurance business means he can explain exactly what type of coverage(s) would be best for your specific needs. And as a personal injury trial lawyer, Mike understands exactly how to handle insurance companies and their armies of lawyers in the event you're trying to receive compensation for your crash and your injuries.
One simple phone call will get you the answers you need to all your car insurance and coverage questions, even before you purchase a policy. Call us at 239-461-5508 or complete this simple form, and we'll reach out to you immediately.
Don't make a mistake in selecting your coverage – it can really come back to hurt you if you're seriously hurt in a motor vehicle accident.