Understanding Auto Insurance: Are You Fully Covered?

After our client has been in a car accident, it’s important that we quickly determine how their auto-insurance will protect them.  This rings especially true when there’s been a serious crash with significant injuries. It’s oftentimes the case that many at-fault drivers carry little or no applicable motor vehicle insurance. This is precisely why consumers should be protecting themselves and their families by acquiring sufficient auto insurance, including uninsured motorist insurance. But is full coverage as commonplace as many think?

Many clients believe that they have full coverage insurance, and are confident that it covers just about any scenario. However, under Florida law, insurance companies need only sell consumers the state-required minimum coverage. As a result, many consumers believe that they are fully covered. In reality, Florida’s auto insurance laws only require a driver to purchase Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Coverage. What do these two cover?

1)      Minimum protection against medical expenses

2)      Lost wages recovered up to a certain limit

3)      Will pay damage to the other driver’s car if you were at fault

The unfortunate reality of this minimum coverage is, despite being legally sufficient for the state of Florida, true coverage can be lost for those in severe car accidents. For example: If the other driver causes you or your family serious injuries, this coverage will NOT provide substantial coverage for pain and suffering, permanent impairment, disability, mental anguish, or the changes in the quality of your life.

Bodily Injury Insurance

Many states require all registered motor vehicle owners to purchase bodily injury insurance. This mandatory insurance protects people who may suffer injury as a result of careless driving. Unlike these other states, Florida does not issue a mandatory requirement for bodily injury coverage. As a result, a lot of car accidents in Florida result in innocent people being injured without any bodily injury coverage. While this may seem unthinkable, the Florida Legislature continues to refuse the passing of any laws that will protect innocent people injured by careless drivers.

What coverage did you actually purchase?

This is why it’s critical for everyone to determine what auto insurance coverage they actually purchased. At FL Trial MD, we teach our clients to understand their car insurance policy’s Declarations Sheet – a listing of the type of insurance and amount of coverage purchase. In addition to the Florida minimum required coverage, we urge our clients to ALWAYS purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as possible. This protects them from the life-changing collisions that can happen. It’s important that people purchase protection that protects other drivers as well as themselves. Once you establish a large spectrum of coverage, you’ll be able to protect yourself, family and passengers in your vehicle if a careless driver causes the collision.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Review your policy now. Proactively providing the coverage to you and your family may need to happen BEFORE an accident occurs. It’s happened quite often that we’ve made this recommendation to friends, family and neighbors who obtained the additional coverage and later used it.  In light of the high-frequency of auto crashes and the injuries occurred as a result, obtaining enough coverage to protect you and your family is highly logical move.

This article was written by Tony Caggiano. A lawyer in Orlando, FL at the offices of FL Trial MD, Tony Caggiano is a board certified lawyer. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Caggiano enjoys writing and sharing information that can better assist those who need help with legal matters.