According to a 2017 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), about 15% of all drivers on U.S. roads are uninsured. Uninsured rates vary substantially across different states, with Florida at over 26% having the highest percentage of uninsured motorists of any state.
Although there are strict penalties for driving without insurance, many people still get behind the wheel without insurance cover of any sort. Accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers are all too common in Florida, and they cause a host of issues for both the uninsured driver, other insured drivers they strike, and other drivers that strike them. To make matters worse, based on the IRC findings referenced above, uninsured motorist rates countrywide have increased steadily since 2010.
Being involved in a car accident without insurance can be as problematic for the at-fault driver as it is for the driver who was struck. If you crash without insurance in Florida, you can be sued for damages and potentially face jail time. You can avoid such a situation by understanding at-fault laws, knowing the different types of insurance available to drivers, and choosing the insurance cover that works best for you. Read on below to learn more.
No-Fault Accident Laws
Florida is one of 12 no-fault states where your car insurer will pay up to your policy limit for accident damages regardless of who was found to be at fault for an accident. Generally speaking, insurance companies cover 80% or so of personal injury expenses in no-fault states. This includes medical coverage and payment for other expenses related to injuries sustained in an accident.
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can recover damages and receive compensation for your injuries using your underinsured or uninsured motorist policy. How much you will be entitled to recover will depend on the limits of your policy.
Florida Insurance Laws
To be legally eligible to operate a vehicle in Florida, you must carry car insurance that includes bodily injury cover of at least $10,000 per person, $20,000 per crash, and $10,000 cover for property damage. You must purchase this coverage before obtaining your vehicle registration and license plates. You must also continue to carry this coverage as long as you have a vehicle registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can be fined between $150 and $500 for driving without proper insurance. In-depth insurance guidelines can be found on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ insurance requirements page.
Which Insurance Should I Buy?
Here are the different types of insurance you can purchase.
- Bodily injury liability: This pays for injuries that are caused to the driver and passengers during an accident that is someone else’s fault.
- Property damage liability: This covers repairs to other vehicles involved in an accident, as well as property damage to the likes of buildings, road fixtures, fences, etc. for the person not at fault for the accident.
- Collision insurance cover: This covers damages caused to your vehicle and/or property regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
- Personal injury Protection (PIP): PIP cover pays for injuries and lost wages that you, your resident relatives, and passengers in your car sustained in an accident.
- Comprehensive cover: This is used to cover damage to your vehicle that is caused by incidents other than accidents, such as vandalism or natural disasters.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: This covers damages that are caused by someone who does not have any insurance or does not have adequate insurance to cover the damages they cause you in an accident. This cover can also be used to pay for losses and damages that result from situations in which obtaining the insurance information of the individual responsible for an accident is not possible, such as in hit-and-run cases.
The importance of insurance coverage is enshrined in Florida Statute 627.727 and, next to driving safely, carrying adequate insurance is the best thing you can do whenever you get behind the wheel of a car.