Why It’s Important to Understand Auto Insurance Coverage Options

In Florida, many people purchase only the state-mandated minimum auto insurance coverage, but do you understand what minimum coverage means? It is important for Florida residents to understand how auto insurance works and how to ensure that you have the best auto insurance coverage to protect you. Sometimes, getting the bare minimum mandated insurance coverage leads to financial ruin.

Drivers covered by Jacksonville auto insurance

What Is Florida’s State-Mandated Minimum Coverage?

This is the definition of Florida’s minimum auto insurance coverage from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website:

Before you register a vehicle with at least four wheels in Florida, you must show proof of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) automobile insurance. PIP covers 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury, no matter who caused the crash. PDL coverage pays for damage to another person’s property caused by you or someone else driving your insured vehicle.

Proof of PIP/PDL coverage must be issued by an insurance company licensed in Florida to sell policies or by qualifying for a self-insurance certificate issued by FLHSMV.

Any vehicle with a current Florida registration must:

  • be insured with PIP and PDL insurance at the time of vehicle registration.
  • have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP AND a minimum of $10,000 in PDL.
  • have continuous coverage even if the vehicle is not being driven or is inoperable. Surrender the license plate/tag BEFORE canceling your insurance.
  • purchase the policy from an insurance carrier licensed to do business in Florida. (If you are new to the state, you may ask your agent to transfer your current insurance to a Florida policy.)
  • maintain Florida insurance coverage continuously throughout the registration period regardless of the vehicle’s location. (Military members stationed out-of-state/country may be exempt. Visit our military page for more information.)

The bare minimum is not enough to protect you in an accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Isn’t Enough

The minimum PIP coverage pays 80% of all reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from an injury, regardless of who caused the crash. But that $10,000 has to cover a lot of medical expenses, including:

  • Ambulance ride to the hospital
  • Emergency medical services
  • Hospital stay costs
  • Medical tests and procedures
  • Surgery
  • Prescriptions
  • Physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy
  • Medical equipment
  • Follow-up doctor and specialist appointments

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents cost American society $340 billion in 2019. This averages to about $15,000 of medical treatment costs per victim in a single-car accident. This number significantly increases if the injuries are catastrophic or impact multiple people. In addition, medical costs have risen 17.9% between 2019 and 2022 (and will likely continue to trend upward in 2023 and 2024), adding an estimated $2700 to the average medical treatment cost.

So, if you have a run-of-the-mill, absolutely average accident, you will be on the hook for at least $9700. For this reason alone, you should get more PIP coverage than the bare minimum.

Highway drivers covered by an auto insurance agency in Jacksonville FL

Property Damage Liability (PDL) Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Isn’t Enough

The most important thing to understand about PDL auto insurance is that it only pays for the damage to other people’s property, NOT your own. You will need collision insurance to protect yourself.

If you get in an accident with another vehicle and don’t have collision insurance, you will have to pay for all of the damages to your car out of your pocket. You must have collision insurance to protect you against expensive repair or replacement costs.

Comprehensive Insurance Is a Must

There are many ways a vehicle can be damaged other than a collision. Damage from severe weather, flooding, and fire can happen in Florida more often than in different areas of the country. Other damage that isn’t covered under other minimum auto coverage is from theft, vandalism, and damage from use, such as a cracked windshield from road debris.

Comprehensive Insurance will pay up to the fair market value of your car (minus the deductible) to repair or replace the vehicle. This insurance will likely be required if you finance your car through a loan.

GAP Insurance is a Good Idea

Everyone has heard a version of this horror story. A happy customer drives their newly purchased vehicle off the car lot, only to be t-boned by a reckless, uninsured driver right in front of the dealership. Typical auto insurance will not apply to this situation, and now you have a monthly payment for a new vehicle and no car to drive.

GAP insurance can help pay the difference between how much is left on the loan or lease and the vehicle’s depreciated value.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Provides Peace of Mind

The Insurance Information Institute estimates that between 16 and 26% of Florida drivers are uninsured. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you must pay out of pocket for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Here is a partial description of an uninsured motorist insurance policy from Progressive (as an example):

Uninsured Motorist coverage provides for payment of certain benefits for damages caused by owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury or death resulting therefrom. Such benefits may include payments for certain medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, subject to limitations and conditions contained in the policy.

For the purpose of this coverage, an uninsured motor vehicle may include a motor vehicle as to which the bodily injury limits are less than your damages. Florida law requires that automobile liability policies include Uninsured Motorist coverage limits equal to the Bodily Injury Liability limits in your policy unless you select a lower limit offered by the company or reject Uninsured Motorist coverage entirely. If you are interested in selecting Uninsured Motorist coverage for a limit less than your Bodily Injury

Florida drivers protected by an auto insurance agency

Rideshare Should Have Special Endorsements and Policies

If you decide to make a little extra money by being an Uber or Lyft driver in your spare time, you are required to have additional auto insurance coverage. Because working as a rideshare driver results in extra exposure to risk, rideshare companies provide some coverage while the driver has a passenger in the vehicle or on the way to pick up a passenger. However, the coverage is significantly lower if you are logged into the Uber or Lyft app and don’t have a ride.

Delivery Services Are Not Covered by Personal Auto Insurance Coverage

Personal auto insurance policies do not cover using your vehicle as a delivery service, such as delivering food for GrubHub. Using your car for deliveries, even on a part-time basis, increases your chance of getting into an accident. For this reason, most insurers require that you purchase a commercial auto insurance plan or a special delivery driver rider to ensure that you have proper coverage for the vehicle while using it for deliveries.

Always Consult a Dependable, Knowledgable Auto Insurance Expert

Every driver’s situation differs depending on their vehicle, how they use it, and how they purchased it. For this reason, you should always contact an auto insurance expert to help you navigate your coverage options and find the most affordable coverage that protects you from unforeseen financial disasters.

Meet the Mizrahi and Garris Insurance Agency – Jacksonville Auto Insurance Experts

Are you looking for a Jacksonville insurance agency that partners with you to ensure your vehicles have the perfect coverage for you and your vehicle? Then look no further. Connect with us for a free, no-obligation quote. We’ll help you find a protection plan perfectly customized to your needs.

When you select Mizrahi and Garris, you’re not just a client; we consider you family. Give us a call (904) 262-9202 or click “Free Quote” to talk to an insurance expert today.

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