Most every state in the United States requires a certain amount of auto insurance on a vehicle and/or driver.
Beyond the mandated coverages there are optional coverages that can help protect yourself and your vehicle. If you don't need the coverages on your current car, it's still wise to know what coverages are available to you if you change vehicles or want to upgrade your auto insurance coverage. Let's take a look at what optional coverages are available to motorists with cars registered in the state of Florida.
Florida law only requires a motorist to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL). A minimum of $10,000 PIP and $10,000 PDL insurance is mandated to be placed on a motor vehicle in Florida. Florida is a no-fault state, so if you're injured in an auto accident your PIP insurance is primary for your medical expenses.
Other types of car insurance coverages are optional, unless the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) requires you to meet certain financial obligations by purchasing more coverage.
The types of optional insurance available on a Florida auto insurance policy includes: bodily injury liability. collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, medical payments, travel protection plan, hospital indemnity, towing, rental reimbursement, accidental death and dismemberment.
Not all insurance companies will offer all of these optional coverages but many offer a number of them. Florida law prohibits an insurance company from mandating you to buy these additional types of coverage, even though many of them offer you more protection for your car or you and your passengers. However, your financial lender or lien holder may require you to carry collision and comprehensive coverage if you have financed your vehicle.
The optional coverages most often chosen by car owners to add extra protection on a vehicle are collision and comprehensive.
Collision coverage pays for repair or replacement of your vehicle if it collides with another vehicle, flips over or crashes into an object. This is regardless of fault.
Comprehensive coverage pays for losses from incidents other than a collision. This includes things such as fire, theft, vandalism, hail or windstorm. It also typically covers damages caused by falling objects or hitting an animal. Both collision and comprehensive covers have a deductible amount attached to them that must be paid first when making a claim. This deductible amount is decided upon at the start of the policy.
Bodily injury liability (BI) pays for death or serious and permanent injury to others when you are legally liable for an accident involving your motor vehicle. Your insurance company pays for injuries up to the limits of your policy and provides you with legal representation if you are sued personally. Your policy may or may not cover others who drive your car with your permission.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury pays for injuries to you, your family and other people in your vehicle if they are caused by the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist. UM coverage typically pays for medical expenses and lost wages that you and your passengers may incur after the accident.
Medical Payment (MedPay) is a type of optional coverage that pays for medical expenses for accidental injury, up to the limit of your policy. It covers medical expenses for you, your family members or passengers, regardless of fault so this makes it different than the BI coverage. Medical payment insurance covers you whether you are in your own vehicle or someone else's automobile.
Towing and road service is an additional item that some insurance companies sell with insurance policies. Read the towing policy carefully though because some insurance companies can cancel your policy if you have too many towing claims, even if you did not have any accidents.
Rental reimbursement is another additional item that goes beyond car insurance. With this coverage, you may receive reimbursement for an auto rental up to a specified limited amount. It applies if you get into an accident with your own vehicle and it can no longer be driven until it is repaired.
If another driver causes the accident, the at-fault party's liability coverage may reimburse you for renting a vehicle so check with their coverage before using your own. You usually have to purchase collision coverage on your automobile before you can get rental reimbursement on it.
Other optional coverages may be available to you but before purchasing any, find out what you'll be receiving. If you live outside of Florida many or all of these coverages are likely also available to you, so check with your insurance agent. Knowing auto insurance coverage terms and definitions will help you buy the right coverages for your needs.