Florida is one of the most popular states in the nation for people looking to relocate. With its sunny weather, inexpensive real estate, easygoing people, and vibrant job market, Florida attracts lots of tourists and businesspeople, and many people who visit decide to make the Sunshine State their home permanently. Florida is famous as a place for retirees to call home as well, and that can lead to culture shock for many people that find themselves unfamiliar with the laws and customs of Florida after living for many years elsewhere. Automobile insurance in Florida is one of the things that are done differently than in many other states, so it’s important for new residents and retirees to understand the differences between automobile insurance where they’re coming from and in Florida.
Florida Is A No-Fault State
Florida is a so-called no-fault state. There are only eleven other states that have no-fault laws: Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Utah.
Drivers from the other 38 states may not be familiar with no-fault insurance. Florida no-fault insurance means that if you’re into an accident, the policy will pay for the medical bills up to the policy’s limits, no matter who actually caused the accident. The minimum limits for this entry-level Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, are $10,000. Unlike many other states, this PIP not only covers members of your household that are riding in the car with you, it covers your children when they are riding on a school bus, and you while you’re riding a bicycle or even walking on a sidewalk. Your PIP also covers you when you’re riding in someone else’s vehicle.
In addition to no-fault Personal Injury Protection, drivers must carry an additional $10,000 for damage to other people’s property, called Property Damage Liability coverage, or PDL. It’s important to understand that this minimum PDL coverage only applies to other people’s property. It does not cover damage to your own car.
Florida Drivers Often Carry Much More Than Minimum Insurance Policies
Of course these policies and limits are simply the minimum standard required to operate a vehicle on Florida’s roads. Drivers can purchase many other forms of FL auto insurance that cover other potential losses, and with higher levels of coverage. You can also tinker with the amount of your deductibles to lower your yearly payments. Florida drivers often opt for collision coverage to pay for damage to their own car in the event of an accident, comprehensive coverage to cover damage that happens to your car other than from an accident, like vandalism or broken glass, towing and associated labor if your car breaks down, and coverage in case you are in an accident with underinsured or uninsured motorist.
In Case You’re Sued, There’s BIL
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, it is possible to be sued by another party after a car accident, and many Florida drivers opt for Bodily Injury Liability, or BIL coverage, in addition to their other auto insurance. If you’re found responsible for an accident, BIL will pay for injuries to victims of the accident up to your coverage limits, and will often pay for your lawyer’s fees if you’re sued as well.