Florida No-Fault Automobile Insurance

Are you hurt?

Are you hurt?

We recently moved to Florida which is a no fault state. We have insurance through USAA. Can you tell me what this means in the event of an accident? Thanks, Rachel

For some, hearing the term 'no-fault insurance' conjures up the vision of careening down the Florida highway with impunity (or maybe that's just us insurance nerds).

Fortunately, Florida's no-fault laws (and those elsewhere in the US) actually focus ONLY on bodily injury (or personal injury) claims.

Florida no-fault insurance is actually a form of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers drivers, passengers and pedestrians regardless of whether or not their negligence or actions was a reason for or a contributing cause of the accident. The policy on the vehicle that the injured persons were injured in pays for the medical expenses of the driver and passengers in that vehicle. This is regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Property damage claims are not subject to the no-fault laws.

This does not mean that a Floridian can never recover their damages from an at-fault driver, but it can be difficult. There are two exceptions:

First, a Florida resident might meet a monetary threshold: the amount of medical bills must reach a certain dollar amount before the injured person can seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

Or a Floridian might meet a 'verbal' threshold: the injury must be rather serious, such as a disfigurement, permanent disability of death before the at-fault driver can be pursued.

It is important to know that in Florida, you MUST call the police to report the accident if you wish to get help from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This is a fact noted on their own official website. (http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/frfaqcrash.html)

Florida's no-fault insurance law requires automobile owners to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. You may, of course, purchase additional coverage.

Florida is one of only about a dozen states in the US that uses no-fault laws to limit the ability of injured people to recover their damages (or seek compensation) from another driver who has caused their injuries. The purpose of these laws is purportedly to keep insurance costs down, and to deter inurance fraud. It is not really clear whether or not either of these goals are met.

This article is approved for informational purposes ony and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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