Bodily Injury Coverage
Bodily Injury Coverage is liability coverage that takes care of medical expenses of someone you (or a family member) may injure in a vehicle crash. The policy should also cover drivers who use your vehicle, with permission, and injure someone else. The insurance company pays for injuries up to the policy limits. If you’re sued, the automobile insurance company that you have will provide legal representation for you.
- Bodily Injury Coverage covers many things, such as:
- Medical Expenses: Emergency care, hospital fees, ongoing care costs, etc.
- Legal Fees and Legal Council: If the other person involved in the accident decides to file against you, then the coverage can help cover the cost of the legal defense.
- Loss of Income: If you’re injured to the extent that you must miss work or you can’t do your job functions because an injury or continuous medical care, this type of coverage can help provide compensation for work missed because of the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: Some cases have claims that will include payment due to emotional stress or ongoing pain from the accident.
- Funeral Costs: Bodily injury coverage will help pay for any associated funeral costs.
Most, if not all, states require a minimum amount for this type of coverage. (Florida can be $10,000 per person/ $20,000 per accident, but it is recommended for higher than that.) The higher the limit that you choose, the more protection you and others have if there is an accident. To cover Uninsured Motorist coverage, you must have Bodily Injury Coverage.
Bodily Injury Coverage has two different amounts that the insurance it willing to pay:
- Per-person limit which is the maximum amount your insurance will pay per person injured when you’re found at fault for the accident.
- Per-accident limit which is the maximum amount your insurance will pay per accident when you’re found at fault for the accident regardless of how many people were hurt.
Property Damage Coverage
Property damage coverage covers any damage that you, or someone that is driving your vehicle with permission, causes to someone else’s property like their vehicle, fences, business, etc.
Property damage coverage is required in the state of Florida. It is necessary to have property damage coverage if you want to be protected if an accident happens. Florida requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10, 000 in property damage coverage. For example, if you cause damage to another person’s property, your insurance will ay up to $10,000, but if you owe more then you will have to pay the difference.
Property damage covers damage to other vehicles; damage to houses, fencing, or any other stationary object that was damaged by the person’s vehicle. What it doesn’t cover, however is: your own vehicle, rental vehicles, items in your vehicle, or medical expenses for you or your passengers. Because of this, the need to purchase collision or comprehensive coverage is important for your own vehicle.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Florida drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). This is also called ‘no fault’ insurance since it covers medical costs after an accident no matter who caused the crash. PIP can cover medical bills, lost wages, and other things that happened as a result of an accident. In order to qualify for PIP, you must get medical treatment within 14 days of the accident.
In Florida, 80% of your medical costs will be covered by PIP. If the injury isn’t an emergency, though, then PIP will help less. For the rest, it is best to have good health insurance to help with the rest of the cost.
If the injury from your accident is bad enough to cause disability, then Florida PIP will pay 60% of your lost wages if it is in the $10,000 range. This can also cover the costs of paying someone else for services you can no longer handle on your own like laundry, cleaning the house, and taking care of any animals you may have.
If the policyholder passed because of an auto accident, PIP would pay up to $5,000 for funeral expenses as well as burial expenses.
There are a few ground rules for filing a claim for PIP, the main one being that treatment for any injuries must happen within 14 days of the accident. Since there is a high rate of fraud, the insurer can investigate up to 60 days of your claim to see if there are any differences but must be paid within 30 days even if there is a doubt.
Many no-fault states have PIP laws to reduce the number of lawsuits over damages. Florida, though, allows drivers to sue for medical costs over $10,000, even if the injury wasn’t an emergency.
Collision coverage helps pay to replace or repair a vehicle after your deductible. This isn’t required, but it is something you might want to investigate. If you’re interested in getting collision insurance, then contact your provider so they can go over the best policy that fits you. Collision coverage is based on your age and the value of your car. Once they run the information through, then they can recommend the best price.
Comprehensive insurance covers and damages that aren’t man-made. Some examples are:
- Natural disasters like storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, hailstorms.
- Civil Commotions.
- Vandalism and theft.
- Damages from hitting an animal.
- Falling objects.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you are in an accident with someone else that flees the scene or doesn’t have car insurance, uninsured motorist coverage is what you would use. This would also be used to help pay for a crash with a pedestrian. This isn’t required in many states, but not having it is a serious risk.
A study showed that uninsured drivers range from 13% – 20% countrywide. Without it, you could have to pay a large amount if you or a family member on your insurance plan have a wreck with someone without insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage even covers hit and runs, but some states do not let it cover property damage.
Sometimes, though, uninsured motorist coverage might not benefit you. Depending on your health insurance, it may overlap with UMBI (Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury). The best course of action for this is to check with your health insurance to make sure it doesn’t cover certain things that uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t cover like loss of wages.
Gap insurance is an optional car insurance that helps pay off auto loans if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the car’s depreciated value. This is also called loan/lease gap coverage and is only available through your original loan or if you’re the original leaseholder on the new vehicle.
If you plan to lease or finance a car, then it might be a good idea to get gap coverage to go with your collision coverage or comprehensive coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), when you drive a brand-new vehicle off the lot, its value immediately decreases. And, most vehicles’ value depreciates about 20 percent in the first year of ownership.
If you still owe money that wasn’t paid due to the depreciation value being less than what you pain then gap insurance would come in handy. For example, if you’re driving a car that was worth $40,000 when you bought it and within the first month you have an accident that totals the vehicle. The car has already depreciated in value so the insurance will only pay the amount it has depreciated to, let’s say $35,000. You would still owe $5000 to cover it. That is where the gap insurance comes in.
- According to the III, you may want to consider gap insurance in the following situations:
- If you made less than a 20 percent down payment on your vehicle.
- If your auto loan is 60 months or longer.
If you have been injured in an auto accident and need legal assistance from an attorney to help in Panama City or the surrounding areas, contact The Tabbaa Firm for a consultation.
(Updated Sept 2023)