Florida is one of ten states that require PIP Insurance. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of no-fault insurance. No-fault does not mean you are not the one responsible for causing a collision. A common misconception about no-fault insurance is that insurance companies won't determine who is at fault after an accident. It simply means that each person purchases insurance for their own benefit so when a crash occurs, they must look to their own insurance company to recover their losses – even if they are the one responsible for causing the crash. Regardless of who is determined to be at fault for causing the collision, your insurance company will cover your medical expenses, while the other driver’s insurance company will pay for theirs.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?
Your PIP insurance covers your medical treatment and lost wages. It may also cover expenses incurred because of your accident, such as additional child care if your injuries have made it impossible for you to care for your children. PIP insurance also covers these same expenses for any passengers in the vehicle. Additionally, PIP follows the household, not only the insured, which means even if the patient was a passenger in another vehicle, they are covered as long as they either own a vehicle or reside with someone who owns a vehicle.
- Medical costs: In Florida, PIP policies will cover up to 80 percent of medical costs for emergency medical conditions up to the limit of the policy, provided the treatment is received by a licensed physician, dentist, hospital, or facility that is owned by the hospital. For less serious injuries, the policy will provide up to $2,500.
- Lost wages: PIP policies cover a portion of the wages that an injured accident victim lost due to being too injured to work or work missed for doctor’s appointments or medical procedures related to the injury. In Florida, PIP policies are required to cover up to 60 percent of lost wages, based on the individual’s income for 13 weeks immediately preceding the accident.
- Death benefits: Includes funeral and burial expenses. Florida’s PIP policies provide up to $5,000 in death benefits to qualified survivors.
Are There Exceptions to No-Fault Car Insurance?
There are some situations when someone's insurance won't be enough to cover the full extent of his or her injuries. In some cases, the insurance laws may not apply to one or both drivers involved in a crash. For example, the rules of Florida’s no-fault insurance system may not apply if the accident:
- Caused permanent injuries. Florida insurance laws don't prevent victims from suing in all circumstances. If the injuries in an accident are severe, Florida drivers can still pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, the trauma must be extensive enough to meet the injury threshold set by law. Generally, an injured driver can sue if the effects of the accident are permanent; have resulted in scarring or disfigurement; or have caused the loss of important bodily functions. Accidents that have not caused permanent injury may still qualify for litigation if injury costs have totaled more than the $10,000.
- Involved an uninsured driver. The no-fault law only works if all drivers agree to carry a minimum amount of insurance. If a victim is involved in a serious accident with an uninsured driver, the victim will have to rely on the limits of his own insurance company (including any uninsured motorist coverage he may have) or pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- Happened out of state. Florida insurance rules are only guaranteed to cover drivers in their vehicles and within state limits. Florida PIP insurance can refuse to cover your injuries if you're injured in another state and in a vehicle that belongs to someone else.
Remember, at any accident it's always a good idea to record the following:
- The other driver’s name, driver’s license number, insurance info
- License plates of both vehicles
- Pictures of the accident
- Any visible injuries to you and/or your passengers
- Obtain any official documents, especially police reports