Dealing With The Confusing Florida Insurance Laws
Most states have fairly straightforward, easy to understand auto insurance laws in place to protect motorists. In nearly every state, drivers are required to carry liability insurance that pays for damages they may do to another person or another person's property. These insurance plans won't pay for the damages done to one's own car, but if someone is involved in an accident that they aren't responsible for, they will be covered under the at-fault party's insurance. Some states forgo this requirement entirely, making it the financial responsibility of the at-fault driver to cover damages if they're uninsured. But Florida is different.
In 2012, laws went into effect that are as confusing to many as they are frustrating. Essentially, drivers in the state of Florida are required to carry insurance on themselves. This insurance is known as Personal Injury Protection coverage, or PIP for short. If a driver is involved in an accident that is the fault of the other party, and if that other party is uninsured, the PIP coverage will pay for medical injuries sustained. In other words, in Florida drivers must insure themselves against other drivers.
To add to the confusion, PIP laws are very archaic and difficult to understand, with strict guidelines as to what kind of medical care can be received and how much of it will be paid for by the insurance companies. Many who are injured in an accident actually end up having to get the help of an accident lawyer and sue their own insurance company to get the compensation they deserve. And those out of state drivers who are unfortunate enough to get in an accident with an uninsured Florida motorist have even more of a challenge ahead of them since they aren't actually required to have PIP in their state.
Recently, the Florida government has begun consideration of eliminating PIP laws and moving the insurance laws to a model that is easier to understand and closer to other states. However, at the moment PIP is still in place and taking steps to protect yourself from uninsured drivers is important. A PIP policy is the first step, but there are other things to do as well.
- Get supplemental insurance. PIP will only cover a small amount of medical bills and won't cover personal property damage at all. While an uninsured driver may be ordered to pay damages out of pocket, having additional insurance is still a good idea.
- Drive safe. There's no question that there is only so much you can do to prevent an accident and that one could still occur, but driving as safely as possible can still reduce your risk of having to deal with insurance companies.
- If you are involved in an accident, get legal help as soon as you can. A good accident lawyer will work to protect your rights and ensure you get the most from an insurance company. They'll use investigators, gather evidence, and take other steps to fight for you.
These steps can help ease the stress that often comes with dealing with Florida's confusing insurance laws.
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