Car Insurance Coverage that Protects 3rd Parties -- Generally Referred To As The "Liability" Coverages.
Property Damage ("PD") Liability: Florida law requires a minimum of $10,000.00 in PD coverage. PD covers you if your vehicle damages someone else's property -- (i.e. not your own property, not even the car involved in the actual accident).
Bodily Injury ("BI") Liability: While Florida does not require BI coverage, to go without it is a huge mistake. BI covers other people's injuries for which you are held responsible (i.e. their lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering). BI is there to protect your personal assets, up to the coverage amount, in the event a judgment is entered against you. In addition, the insurance company will typically provide and pay for an attorney to defend a lawsuit that is brought against you.
But it is important to remember that both BI and PD coverage do not protect you or anyone on your insurance policy if you are injured. They are strict there to cover others if you cause an accident.
Car Insurance Coverage that Protects You, If You Are Injured
Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") Coverage: Florida requires that every insured driver have exactly $10,000.00 in PIP coverage. Generally speaking, PIP covers 80% of medical and funeral expenses, 60% of lost wages, and any other accident-related expense of the insured, passengers in the insured's automobile and any pedestrians struck by the insured -- up to, but not to exceed that $10,000 threshold -- regardless of who was at fault.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: You may be a terrific driver, but that says nothing about everyone else on the road. Very often the other motorist will have: (a) very limited liability coverage; (b) no liability coverage (according to the Insurance Research Council, about 1 in 6 drivers in Florida have absolutely no coverage at all); or (c) cannot be identified (read: hit and run). In any case, you want as much Uninsured Motorist Coverage as your can afford to protect your and your family against the negligence of others.
Collision insurance: If you get into an auto accident, collision coverage pays for the repairs (or even the replacement of your vehicle, depending on the severity of the accident). Collision coverage should not be confused with "property damage insurance," described above. PD doesn't pay if you damage YOUR OWN property, only the property of others. Collision coverage will pay for your own car's damage, even if you caused the accident (and, of course, if the other party is at fault).
Comprehensive Insurance: tree fall on your car? car get stolen? vandalized? damaged in a fire? Comprehensive insurance coverage will protect you from having to come entirely out of pocket should any of these unforeseen events happen.
Med Pay + Umbrella, etc...: There are other coverages available as well. Most coverages are subject to variations depending on the carrier you choose.
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