How Do Personal Injury Protection Benefits Work in Florida?
In Florida, PIP coverage is required to be purchased by all owners of motor vehicles registered in the state. PIP coverage makes the individual responsible for their own injuries in an accident regardless of fault.
Coverage RequirementsIn Florida, bodily Injury liability coverage is not compulsory, but there are penalties for nonpayment of any judgments against a driver due to accidents which include: license suspension and vehicle registration revocation penalties. However, PIP coverage and property damage liability coverage is mandatory and must provide at least $10,000 in benefits. A policy providing at least $30,000 combined coverage for property damage and bodily injury in a single accident satisfies the Property Damage Liability coverage requirement. Insurers are not required to offer collision damage coverages for an insured’s motor vehicle. Also, note that security provisions in Florida do not apply to taxi cab drivers and limousines. To sum things up, there is a $10,000 per person limit for loss sustained as a result of bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death, personal injury protection coverage provides benefits for 80% of reasonable, medically necessary, and related medical expenses, 60% of loss of gross income and earning capacity, 100% of replacement services, and $5,000 in death benefits.
What are the Penalties for Not Complying with Florida’s Insurance Coverage Requirements?A noncomplying owner or registrant of a motor vehicle does not have immunity from tort liability and is personally liable for payment of PIP benefits to those who would have been covered under a complying policy. A noncomplying operator’s license and motor vehicle registration are subject to suspension and he or she is disqualified from recovering PIP benefits otherwise available under policies covering other vehicles.
What Types of Vehicles are Covered?Every owner or registrant of a motor vehicle required to be registered and licensed in the state and every nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle physically present in the state for at least 90 days out of the previous year must obtain coverage. The term “motor vehicle” includes both private passenger and commercial motor vehicles but generally any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels that required to be licensed for use on Florida’s roads and highways and any trailer or semi-trailer designed for use with such vehicle is required to obtain coverage. However, some mass transit vehicles owned by government entities like municipalities, a transit or public-school transportation authority, or a state political subdivision are not included in the definition of motor vehicle. Where the policy defines “insured motor vehicle” as a “vehicle you own,” such vehicle does not include a temporary substitute or rental vehicle. Thus, no PIP coverage is applicable to class II insureds, who are injured while occupying a motor vehicle rented by the named insured, under the named insured’s policy. Likewise, there is no PIP coverage under the lessee’s policy for a pedestrian who is struck by a rental vehicle, even where the rental agreement makes the lessee’s policy primary, if the policy definition of “covered vehicle” does not include a rental vehicle.
Persons Covered Under PIP in FloridaAn owner’s policy of insurance covers the named insured and his or her resident relatives while occupying any motor vehicle or when struck by a motor vehicle if they are a Florida resident unless the insured was occupying a self-propelled vehicle at the time of the accident. Most policies in Florida include coverage for a spouse residing in the named insured’s household as a named insured. A resident relative is anyone related to the named insured by blood, marriage, or adoption who resides in the named insured’s household. To be entitled to coverage the resident relative must be domiciled in the vehicle owner’s household at the time of the accident and must not own a motor vehicle for which a complying policy is required. An owner’s policy also must provide coverage for any other person while “occupying” the insured vehicle. Such person is also entitled to coverage if injured when struck by a vehicle while not occupying a self- propelled vehicle, provided he or she is a Florida resident and such person is not the owner of a motor vehicle for which complying coverage is required or covered as an insured under a complying policy. An insured need not be the head of a household in order to afford coverage for the members of the same household under his policy. Thus, for example, if an insured resides with his mother, she is entitled to resident relative coverage even though she, and not the son, is the head of a household. However, a resident relative who owns an uninsured motor vehicle is disqualified from coverage under the named insured’s policy. A passenger who does not carry complying coverage on his own motor vehicle is likewise barred from coverage under the host’s policy. Where a vehicle is not covered by an owner’s policy, the passengers are not entitled to coverage under the driver’s policy unless the vehicle qualifies as a temporary substitute automobile under his policy.