Legal Updates and News:
AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGES IN FLORIDA:
II. OPTIONAL COVERAGES: The term “Full Coverage”, which is used quite often in the insurance industry, really has no meaning at all. In reality, you can have "full-coverage" and only have the required coverage, which is PIP and Property Damage Liability. There truly is no such thing as full insurance coverage because there is always additional coverage which can be purchased, no matter how much or what type of coverage you already have. The following coverages are not required in Florida but nonetheless made available to each insured by the insurance companies:
1. BODILY INJURY LIABILITY: Like Property Damage Liability, this type of coverage applies to the other person involved in an automobile accident with you when the accident is your fault. Unlike Property Damage, which only covers the damage to the other person’s vehicle or property, Bodily Injury Liability coversdamages resulting from injury to the other person caused by you. Therefore, if you are involved in an automobile accident which is your fault and the other person is injured and files a claim, then this type of coverage will cover the claim. It will also provide you with legal representation (an attorney) in the event that you are sued by the injured party. This coverage is usually purchased in amounts of $10,000.00, $25,000.00, $100,000.00, and up. If you have this type of coverage, it will usually show as either 10/20, 25/50, or 100/300. The significance of these numbers are as follows: 10/20 - Indicates that you have $10,000.00 coverage per accident, per person, up to a limit of $20,000.00 per accident. For example, if you are involved in an accident and two individuals are injured and entitled to $10,000.00 each, your insurance company could pay them each $10,000.00. However, if three individuals are injured in the same accident, your insurance company will not pay each individual $10,000.00, because they will only pay a maximum of $20,000.00 per accident.You may be personally responsible (out of your pocket) for damages which exceed your coverage limits.
2. COLLISION AND COMPREHENSIVE: This type of coverage will pay for damage caused to your own vehicle when you are at fault or the person who hit you is at fault and not insured, or when your vehicle is otherwise vandalized or damaged. While this type of coverage is optional from a legal standpoint, many finance companies, if there is a lienholder on your vehicle, require it as part of the agreement with them. It is also required by many automobile rental agencies in order to rent a vehicle from them. This type of coverage usually is sold with varying deductibles -- $250.00 deductible, $500.00 deductible, and higher.
3. UM (UNINSURED MOTORIST): This type of coverage will cover your damages if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, you are injured as a result thereof, and the person that hit you had no Bodily Injury Coverage or had insufficient Bodily Injury Coverage.
4. MEDICAL PAYMENTS: This type of coverage is purchased usually in an amount of $2,000.00, $5,000.00, $10,000.00, or higher. It is a supplement to the PIP discussed earlier. It will pay whatever your PIP doesn’t pay, up to its limits, medical bills incurred as a result of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Unlike PIP, Medpay will also cover the passengers in your vehicle under many circumstances and pays bills at a rate of 100%.
5. RENTAL: As the name indicates, this type of coverage will pay for you to rent a vehicle in the event that you are involved in an automobile accident and your vehicle is inoperable or under repair. There are limitations as to the amount paid and the number of days allowed for a rental vehicle.
Don't hesitate to call our office with any questions or comments regarding the above. We are always here and available to help in any and every way that we can!
The "required" and "available" coverages pertaining to automobile insurance vary greatly from state to state. Florida is a “No-Fault” state. The following is a summary of the required and available coverages in Florida.
I. REQUIRED COVERAGES: The following are the coverages that you are required by law to carry if you own an automobile and have the same registered in the state of Florida:
1. PIP: This type of coverage pays for the owner’s medical expenses and/or lost wages in the event of an accident. PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, is usually sold in quantities of $10,000.00. A $10,000.00 PIP coverage with no deductible indicates that your auto insurance will pay your medical bills up to an amount of $10,000.00, at a rate of 80%. From that same $10,000.00, they will pay any lost wages at a rate of 60%.
Keep in mind that PIP coverage and its benefits apply regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Therefore, even if the accident was not your fault, it is your insurance company that will pay for your medical bills and lost wages up to the first $10,000. Additional medical coverage can be purchased, but that will be discussed later under “Optional Coverages”.
2. PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY: The only other required type of coverage in Florida is Property Damage Liability. Property Damage Liability will pay for the damage caused to the other person's vehicle in the event of an accident which is your fault. This coverage is usually sold in a minimum amount of $10,000.00, but additional coverage can be purchased. This covers 100% of the damages up to $10,000.00 (or the higher amount purchased) of the damage to the other person's vehicle or property.
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AUTO INSURANCE IN FLORIDA -
There are many drivers in the state of Florida driving without any bodily injury liability insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy will protect you against such drivers in the event you are injured in an accident ask your agent to add it to your policy.
Remember to call our office with any #questions or #comments regarding the above. #Consultationsarefree, we are here to help!
Medical payments coverage on your auto insurance policy is relatively inexpensive optional coverage which will supplement the PIP which in most cases only pays 80% of your medical bills. Keep in mind when you're in an accident it is essential that you are seen by a qualified physician or healthcare provider within 14 days of the accident so as to not potentially void your PIP medical coverage for that accident.
Call our office for a free consult with the Alex Hernandez himself. We are here to help!
Did you know that the term full coverage means very little if anything at all. While your auto insurance agent may use this term to assure you you're fully covered in reality there is no such thing. Fully covered mostly means what is required by law which is very little coverage and does not protect your interests at all. Call our office for a free consultation on what auto insurance you should carry and how to be adequately covered.
Contact our office for a free consultation or with any questions regarding the above information, we are always happy to help!
NEW AUTO INSURANCE LAWS IN EFFECT NOW!
Laws dictating how and if your auto Insurance will pay your medical bills are now in effect, BEWARE!
Florida's New Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law went Into Effect January 2013. This new law endorsed by Governor Rick Scott seems to benefit only the Insurance companies and limit the coverage extended to you, the insured. In essence this new law provides that while you are still paying premiums for $10,000 worth of medical coverage for yourself and family members, you might only get $2,500 worth of coverage or even Zero coverage (if you fail to seek treatment within 14 days). Furthermore, the injuries sustained must fit into a very arbitrary category decided upon by your Insurance Company in order to be eligible for any coverage at all. The new law severely limits your rights to obtain your benefits under your own insurance policy that you pay dearly for. Finally, it now caps payment for chiropractic treatment at $2,500, excludes massage therapy and other legitimate medical treatments while increasing the amount of time in which an insurance company can pay what they consider a valid claim. Thank you Governor Scott!
As if limiting coverage was not bad enough, this new law advocates prescription drug use (pain medication) by limiting the type of treatment (capping Chiropractic care and excluding massage therapy, etc.) and forcing the insured to resort to more of a pain management style of treatment. As Floridians we are all too aware of the serious problems we already face with prescription drug abuse in our state. This new law may very well compound that problem, all to benefit the Insurance companies and drug manufacturers.
Advocates of this new law argued that it was necessary in order to curb insurance fraud cases. However, they never offered real statistics on the amount of fraud existing. The insurance company’s statistics on fraud cases are biased to say the least as most Insurance companies suspect fraud in most every claim filed. They also argued that the new law will result in a 10% premium savings to the insured in time. The savings are, however, NOT GUARANTEED and poorly defined and in the grand scheme of things insignificant even if they actually happen. Is it a 10% reduction of your total insurance premium? or 10% of the premium for the PIP portion of your policy which is only a fraction of your total premium? Even if it was 10% off of your total premium, they are reducing your coverage by 75% in exchange for the promise of a mere 10% reduction in premiums. That is no bargain in my book.
PIP Law Generally
For over 35 years Florida Law has required that everyone purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance. This type of auto insurance coverage (also referred to as No-Fault Insurance) provides for the insured’s medical bills to be paid by their own auto insurance company, whether or not they were at fault in the accident. Typically PIP coverage would pay for 80% of any medical bills, and 60% of lost wages, up to $10,000, in addition to providing a death benefit. The
New Law in Effect since January 1, 20131.
The initial medical treatment must be obtained within fourteen (14) days from the accident. Waiting for the aches and pains to go away longer than 14 days may result in NO COVEAGE AT ALL FOR THE INSURED.
2. The Initial services and care are only reimbursable if lawfully provided, supervised, ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician, licensed osteopathic physician, licensed chiropractic physician, licensed dentist, or must be rendered in a hospital, a facility that owns or is owned by a hospital, or a licensed emergency transportation and treatment provider.
3. Follow up services and care require a referral from such providers and must be consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis rendered when the individual received initial services and care. For example, if you go to the emergency room right after an accident complaining of severe neck pain and you fail to mention that your back hurts too but not as much, coverage for later treatment for your worsening back condition will be denied.
4. This follow up treatment must be supervised, ordered, or prescribed by a medical doctor, chiropractor physician, doctor of osteopath, a dentist, physician assistant or ARNP (advanced registered nurse practitioner).
5. The New Law then applies two different coverage limits for PIP medical benefits, based upon the severity of the medical condition of the insured, who is paying the same or higher premiums than in 2012:
- An individual may receive up to $10,000 in medical benefits for services and care if a physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician’s assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner has determined that the injured person had an emergency medical condition. An emergency medical condition is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.
- An individual who is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, the PIP medical benefit limit is $2,500. Massage and acupuncture are not reimbursable, regardless of who the type of provider rendering such services.
It remains to be seen if this new law will stand once challenged in the courts. In the meantime be informed, ask your insurance agent what supplemental coverage may be available to you such as “Medical Payment” coverage. Feel free contact our office for more information. Know your rights and keep us in mind if you or someone you know is involved in a car accident, now more than ever time is of the essence.
By Alex Hernandez Esq.