Written by attorney Sean Cleary

What Is Personal Injury Protection in Florida?

Personal injury protection is a mandatory decades-old system, designed to make insurance claims less adverse than lawsuits.

If you are the owner of a motor vehicle registered in Florida, you have to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In the event of an accident, PIP provides medical expenses, wage loss, and death coverage for you and your passengers.

PIP benefits are paid by your insurance company no matter who caused the accident. That is why PIP is also called no-fault insurance.

PIP coverage was created to provide injured drivers with immediate medical coverage up to $10.000 instead of going through the court system and waiting for the fault to be established. The main purposes of requiring PIP were to limit the court system usage and to reduce delays in payments.

You need personal injury protection insurance, especially if you don't have great health insurance. Also, it is a useful insurance if you often drive with passengers in your vehicle who might hold you accountable for an accident.

In Florida, the law, adopted in 1972, states that automobile insurance is mandatory. You must have a minimum of $10.000 PIP coverage and a minimum of $10.000 property damage liability (PDL) coverage.

Over the years, the PIP system in Florida was faced with the problem of fraudulent claims. While the number of accidents remained relatively constant, the amount of PIP claims and payments soared. The fraud resulted in elevated PIP premiums.

In 2012, the State of Florida passed House of Representatives Bill 119, which was signed into law by the Governor. After the changes, the Florida law requires those involved in crashes to get treatment within 14 days after the accident. Therefore, policyholders should seek treatment immediately after an accident. Also, the law allows up to $10,000 in benefits only for emergency medical conditions, while placing a $2,500 cap on non-emergency medical conditions.

To further reduce fraud, new proposals demand that the personal injury protection system end in 2019.

PIP insurance covers for 80% of your medical reasonable expenses, 60% of your lost wages, and up to $5,000 of death benefits per individual. The rest of your out-of-pocket expenses have to be recovered from the driver that caused the accident.

Personal injury protection covers any accident or injury involving a vehicle, even if you are a pedestrian or on a bicycle and are injured by a vehicle.

As many drivers in Florida have only the minimum required insurance or are even driving underinsured or with no insurance, it is safer to have UM - uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Purchase as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford because it is a very necessary coverage in Florida.

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