Buying an Insurance Policy in Florida
Q: What are the requirements for insurance coverage in Florida?
A: Drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection insurance and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability insurance. If you are involved in a car accident in which the other driver is injured, you are liable up to $10,000 of their medical expenses. Many people cannot pay this amount out of pocket, so it is recommended that drivers secure Bodily Injury Liability coverage in addition to the Florida insurance minimums.
Q: Will the requirements protect me completely following an accident?
A: Probably not. If a car accident is serious enough to cause $10,000 worth of property damage, you likely have injuries. If you are at fault and the other driver is injured, you are liable to pay for their injuries. It works the other way as well.
Q: Is it ever okay to bend the truth when buying a car insurance policy?
A: No. Some drivers think that lying to an insurance company will save them money. This is insurance fraud. The decision to lie on a policy only leads to bad things. For example, if a driver denies that they have previous tickets, says they are not married when they are, or lies about their address, the company can deny future claims because of it. You may be asked about the following information when buying a car insurance policy:
- Marital status
- Number of vehicles
- Specifications of the car, such as anti-lock breaks
- Security of the car, such as anti-theft systems
- Estimated annual mileage
- Information about all other eligible drivers you live with
Your premiums reflect the coverage you need. Do not lie to save money; it can end up costing you more in the long run if you are ever in a car accident.
Q: What are some tricks to saving money on insurance coverage without losing protection?
A: If you want to purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you are required to purchase bodily injury (BI) protection. This ensures that you cover other injured drivers as well as yourself in an accident. Your UM coverage cannot be greater than BI coverage. However, you can "stack" UM coverage to save money on your premiums. For example, let's consider if you have two cars and want to insure them both. You may choose $50,000 of BI and UM coverage for both cars and pay the premium that reflects this amount. "Stacked" uninsured motorist coverage means that the UM coverage multiplies by the number of vehicles you own. Therefore, if you own two cars and pay premiums for $50,000 worth of coverage, you actually have $100,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage. This is a way around the requirement and it can save you money if you want more coverage.
Another tip is to shop around for coverage before committing to one company. Insurance is competitive and some carriers may offer discounts for seniors, good students, military personnel, and others.
Q: My insurance company is asking me to buy roadside assistance coverage, but I don't think I need it. Is it okay for me to not add this to my policy?
A: It is up to you when choosing how much coverage you'd like. If you want roadside assistance and towing coverage, you might consider shopping around before buying from your insurance company. AAA offers the same service and its rates might be lower than those your insurance company is offering.
How to File a Car Accident Claim in Florida
Q: What should I do in order to prevent a potential dispute with my insurance company?
A: Even if you haven't been in a car accident, it is a good idea to take some measures to prepare yourself. Keep a disposable camera in your glove box so in case of an accident, you can take pictures of the damage for your insurance company's record. Most phones cameras can also be used to document an accident scene. Be sure to get a copy of the police report also.
Q: Do I need to report my accident to the insurance company?
A: There are advantages and disadvantages to filing a claim with your insurance company. If you choose to, they can absorb some of the cost of repairs. On the other hand, they may raise your premiums in the future. Minor accidents in which only your car has been damaged may be easier to handle by paying for repairs out of pocket, but it is your decision. If you have had difficulty communicating with your insurance company in the past, call the Coye Law Firm to protect your consumer rights with an experienced insurance dispute attorney.
Q: When should I report my car accident?
A: Contact your insurance company right away to get repairs started.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Q: What happens if an uninsured motorist hits me?
A: Accidents involving uninsured motorists can be aggravating and upsetting for drivers. If you're injured in a car accident and the other driver cannot pay for your medical bills, you and your family can be financially ruined. Buy uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself from this prospect. Uninsured motorist coverage requires your insurance company to pay for the injuries that the at-fault driver can not.
Q: I feel bad about having hit another person's car. Should I apologize or anything?
A: It may be an automatic response to say "I'm so sorry" at a car accident scene, but it can end up costing you in the long run. Apologizing admits fault, and if the other person chooses to file a claim, it can end up affecting your own insurance rates. Let a police officer determine who was at fault before liability is claimed.
Q: I only have one car. What happens if it's damaged in an accident?
A: Wait until your insurance adjuster assesses the damage to start repairs. Damage that will get worse if left alone, such as holes in roofs, can be patched with temporary fixes until a mechanic can do a permanent one. If you weren't at fault in the accident, you might be eligible to get rental reimbursement or payment for your property damage.
Q: Can I pursue money in court for the damage or injuries I experienced in a car accident?
A: You can only sue the other driver for the costs if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver and the costs to recover are over the minimum $10,000 coverage you have to protect yourself, it may be impossible to collect the rest of the money. Unless the at-fault driver wins the lottery, they may never be able to pay you back.