Since 1972, Florida has been a “no-fault” state with regard to automobile accidents. That simply means irregardless of who causes an automobile accident, each party must submit the first 10,000.00 of their medical bills to their own insurance company for payment. (This is known as P.I.P.) The P.I.P. law (Personal Injury Protection) requires your insurance company to pay 80% of your medical bills up to the $10,000.00 limit.
This vitally important law provides a number of other benefits to Florida citizens who are involved in auto accidents, namely a $5,000.00 death benefit and a lost wage benefit. For those drivers who do not have health insurance, P.I.P. provides the only avenue to have one’s medial bills paid. (Medical debt is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States.)
What does this mean for you and what should you do? First, please call your auto insurance agent immediately to discuss the alternatives to P.I.P. Specifically, obtain a quote for “medical payments” coverage, which is separate and apart from P.I.P. Even if you have health insurance, consider the inconvenience associated with obtaining referrals to specialists and other red tape. Medical Payments coverage will allow you to choose any doctor you wish without the need for a referral. This becomes especially important when one requires treatment with a medical specialist.
Another potential problem that you may encounter in Florida is being struck and injured by an uninsured driver. There are far too many drivers on Florida roads without insurance. This creates a danger for all of us who incur medical bills for accident related injuries. However, there is a very simple solution to this problem. It’s called U.M. Insurance. Uninsured Motorists (U.M.) Coverage is perhaps the most important type of auto insurance you can have in Florida. In the event that you are struck and injured by someone without auto insurance, U.M. Insurance allows you to turn to your own insurance carrier and force them to “stand in the shoes” of the uninsured driver.
U.M. Insurance requires your own insurance carrier to compensate you for all of the damages that you would have been entitled to receive from the uninsured driver. Unfortunately, many insurance agents do not explain this essential layer of coverage properly and often advise their clients to reject U.M. insurance in writing.
Finally, it is extremely important to protect yourself and your family should they be injured in an accident. The purchase of “medical payments” coverage and “Uninsured Motorist” coverage will provide that protection.