Will My Car Insurance Pay If I Am At Fault?
If your insurance will pay for damages depends on the coverage and the amount of coverage you elected. Here is a breakdown of each coverage option available and how that coverage works.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Florida may be a no-fault state but fault is still assigned during an accident and by your insurance company – so what does no-fault actually mean? Being a no-fault state means that no matter who was at fault for the accident, your own insurance is responsible for covering your medical costs associated with that accident under your PIP insurance coverage. Personal Injury Protection Insurance of $10,000 is required to be carried in the State of Florida.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) Insurance
At least $10,000 coverage of Property Damage Liability Insurance is required in the State of Florida in addition to the $10,000 of PIP insurance. Property Damage Liability will cover the costs of damages to another’s property in the event of an accident. Typically, it is your Property Damage Liability Insurance that covers the cost of repairs to the other car if you are found at fault for the accident.
Collision coverage will pay for the repairs for your vehicle after a covered accident. A covered accident includes a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object like a tree, pole, or a bridge/guardrail. You may be responsible for a deductible, usually between $0 and $1000, depending what you opted for when selecting Collision Coverage.
If your vehicle is completely totaled in the accident (totaled is defined as the cost of repairs are more than the value of your vehicle), then Collision Coverage will pay out the value of the car (minus the deductible and up to your coverage level). The value of your car is calculated by considering the cost of your vehicle when it was first purchased minus depreciation (age and current condition of the vehicle). If your vehicle is not worth much, collision coverage may not be necessary. However, if you have a newer or more expensive vehicle, be sure to opt for a coverage level near the value of the car. For example, if you purchase your vehicle for $65,000 then opting for $25,000 in Collision Coverage will not serve you well if your vehicle is totaled.
Even if you are at fault for the accident, your Collision Coverage will still pay for the repair or replacement of your vehicle. You will not lose coverage because you are found at fault; however, your premium may rise after an accident.
Also, if you are still making payments on your vehicle or there is a lien against our car, then Collision overage will be required by your lienholder.
For damaged caused by incidents outside of covered accidents (as listed above), Comprehensive Coverage pays out for repairs or replacement. Some incidents may include weather damage, flooding, fire, theft, vandalism, or collision with an animal. Comprehensive Coverage is more expensive to carry than other types of coverage but it does offer discounts if you have anti-theft or tracking devices installed in your vehicle. If your car is not valued at much or you live in an area where storm damage or hitting a large animal is unlikely, then opting out of Comprehensive Coverage may be better for you.
Also, if you are still making payments on your vehicle or there is a lien against our car, then Comprehensive Coverage will be required by your lienholder.
Underinsured/ Uninsured Motorist Protection
Although Florida requires that all drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 each for Personal Injury Protection (PIP Insurance) and Property Damage Liability (PDL), not everyone obeys the law and obtains the necessary insurance. In fact, in 2012, the estimate was that 23.8% of Florida drivers were uninsured. In list of states with the highest number of uninsured drivers, Florida ranked number two overall.
It may also be the case that the other driver does carry the minimum amount of Property Damage Liability insurance but the damage to your vehicle is more than what they are covered for. For example, they only carry the state mandated requirement of $10,000 in Property Damage Liability and your $35,000 vehicle has been totaled in the accident. Although you could sue them personally, lawsuits can drag out for years and the other driver may not be able to afford the difference regardless.
Having Underinsured/ Uninsured Motorist Protection is relatively cheap to add on to your insurance plan and provides you the peace of mind should you be involved in an accident where the other driver in uninsured or underinsured.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical Payments Coverage is another optional insurance coverage that will help pay for the costs of medical care related to injuries sustained in an accident for you, your passengers, or your family members who were driving the insured vehicle at the time of the accident. Medical Payments Coverage can also pay for medical expenses for you and your family if you or they were injured while in an accident while in another vehicle or struck as a pedestrian.
Medical Payments Coverage works in addition to your Personal Injury Protection coverage and it does not matter who was at fault for the accident. Although, you could use your health insurance in addition to your PIP coverage, Medical Payments Coverage insurance can assist with copays and deductibles you may be responsible for. Medical Payments Coverage is also beneficial if one of your passengers does not have medical insurance.
Some medical treatments that are covered by Medical Payments Coverage include:
- Emergency Room visits,
- If you are admitted to the hospital for one or more days,
- Follow up doctor visits,
- EMT & ambulance fees,
- Professional nursing service and care; and even
- Prostheses if needed.