The majority of U.S. states have a fault-based, or traditional tort liability, system of auto insurance in which the at-fault driver’s insurance company helps pay for certain expenses, losses and damages resulting from the accident. In Florida, however, as well as in 11 other states and the District of Columbia, a no-fault system of auto insurance is used instead. If you are a Florida resident who has been in an auto accident, it is important for you to understand how this no-fault auto insurance system impacts you.
What Is No-Fault Auto Insurance?
In a no-fault auto insurance system, an insurance provider covers losses and damages, up to the policy’s limits, incurred by its customer in a car accident, regardless of fault. In other words, if you are a Florida resident who has been in an auto accident, your own auto insurance provider will cover some or all of your losses and damages, regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident.
Why No-Fault Auto Insurance?
In traditional fault-based auto insurance systems, many lawsuits are filed with the purpose of determining who is at fault for an accident. In theory, then, no-fault auto insurance laws help reduce costly lawsuits, thereby reducing auto insurers’ costs and car owners’ premiums and leading to quicker payouts.
What Are the Minimum Limits of Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida?
In Florida, the minimum limits of auto insurance coverage for vehicles registered in the state are as follows:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection insurance (also known as no-fault insurance); and
- $10,000 of property damage liability insurance.
You may also have a deductible.
What Is Covered Under No-Fault Auto Insurance in Florida?
In Florida, personal injury protection insurance, or no-fault insurance, covers the following up to the limits of your policy minus your deductible amount:
- 80 percent of accident-related reasonable medical expenses;
- 60 percent of accident-related lost wages; and
- $5,000 per individual for death benefits.
Who Is Covered Under No-Fault Auto Insurance in Florida?
In Florida, personal injury protection insurance, or no-fault insurance, covers the following individuals:
- Your child and other family members who live in your home;
- Other passengers who do not have their own personal injury protection insurance and do not own a car;
- You if you suffer an injury in a crash involving a motor vehicle while in someone else’s automobile, as a pedestrian or as a bicyclist; and
- Your child if he or she suffers injuries while riding on a school bus.
Who and What Is Covered Under Property Damage Liability Insurance in Florida?
In Florida, property damage liability insurance covers damage you or members of your family have caused to another person’s property in an auto accident. The term “property” is not limited to another automobile.
Exemptions to the No-Fault Auto Insurance System in Florida
Exemptions to the no-fault insurance system do exist. A Florida driver wishing to pursue a claim against an at-fault driver must meet the serious-injury threshold, meaning he or she must prove that he or she has suffered one or more of the following as a result of the auto accident, per section 627.737 of the Florida Statutes:
- Permanent and significant loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability; and
- Permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement.
In the event you are injured in an auto accident, Tampa area firm Reed & Reed will help you understand Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws and will help you begin the process of recovery.