Frequently Asked Questions - What Does A No Fault State Mean For Car Insurance in Florida?
In the United States, auto insurance laws are a state-level decision. When it comes to auto accidents, a state can choose to be a choice no-fault state, a tort liability state, or a combination. When shopping for car insurance, there is more to consider than what provider you will choose and what your deductible and premium will be. It is also important to understand the auto insurance laws in the state you reside in or any state you intend to move to. Furthermore, get some professional insurance help or research carefully after your state's fault laws before you make the ultimate choices on your auto insurance policy coverage. It could mean the difference between being well-protected and being vulnerable to a lawsuit or out of the pocket expense.
The rules surrounding auto accident lawsuits in no-fault states are strict. These rules are known as threshold conditions and relate to the severity of the injury sustained in the auto accident. In the United States, there are twelve (12) no-fault states, including Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. These states have implemented no-fault auto accident laws, to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits that may occur. Puerto Rico, though not a state, is also no-fault.
What is a no-fault state? “No-Fault” means that drivers have insurance to cover their own injuries and damage rather than insuring to pay out to the other person. An easy way to remember what no-fault means is that it does not matter who is at fault because everyone is required to file a claim with their own insurance. In most no-fault states, drivers are required to have personal injury protection coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. In fact, in no-fault states, and even in some at-fault states, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is often required. The states determine the minimum PIP coverage levels required for motorists. You may even hear PIP Coverage referred to as “no-fault insurance.” This type of coverage pays up to a certain amount on medical bills for you and your passengers in the event of an auto accident. PIP covers things like medical bills, lost wages, essential services you are unable to perform due to an accident-related injury, funeral expenses. The PIP coverage limit required is determined at the state level. As an example, Florida requires residents to carry $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 of Property Damage Liability (PDL). The PDL does payout for damages if a driver is at fault and causes damage to someone's vehicle or property. The PIP is the no-fault part where each injured person makes a claim on their own PIP coverage to pay for medical bills.
The state of Florida is a “No-Fault” insurance state as it relates to automobile liability insurance. A driver's PIP coverage, as this type of insurance is most often known, is to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver may suffer in an accident, no matter who caused the accident. Again, a No-Fault state, simply means that it does not matter who is at fault for the auto accident, each person will make a claim under their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Since Florida is a no-fault car accident state, all drivers claim their injuries and losses on their own car's insurance policy. PIP will generally cover up to $10,00 of your medical costs. One of the disadvantages of having a "dollar target" for medical expenses is that it may encourage the submission of fraudulent claims. Also in the state of Florida, you are not required to carry other coverages such as Bodily Injury (BI) or Medical Payments (Med Pay), Collision, Comprehensive, and Under and Uninsured (UM and UIM) coverages. These coverages are all extra and cost more money. Nevertheless, as a driver, it is your decision if these coverages might be beneficial to you. In the long run, they might be.
There is a wide variation in monetary thresholds and in other benefits provided. One problem in states with higher than average PIP benefits is those dishonest providers of professional services have found ways to abuse and cheat the system, pushing up the cost of auto insurance. In fact, the state of Florida has the third most expensive car insurance in the county with an average premium of $2,050.00. This is fifty (50) percent more expensive than the national average.
Unlike no-fault insurance, tort insurance requires that the law assigns “fault” and the person that is at fault is responsible for all medical bills, pain and suffering, and damage. This type of insurance is referred to as “at-fault.” Currently, thirty-eight (38) states (all states that are not no-fault) are tort liability states. For instance, fault or tort states assign responsibility for the auto accident. In other words, whoever is at fault is also responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Tort states require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover injuries they cause to others and for damages, they cause to someone else’s car, house, or fence. In tort states, the insurance company of the individual found to be at fault pays for all damage costs in the event of an accident. Furthermore, there are some states that are known as “optional no-fault” or “choice no-fault” states. In these states, drivers choose whether they will be held to a no-fault system.
States that are true no-fault states have different auto accident-related laws than states that are tort liability states. Be prepared to ask your insurance provider these important questions to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for your state and make a knowledgeable choice on auto insurance policy coverage. Again, it could mean the difference between being well-protected and being vulnerable to a lawsuit or out of the pocket expense.
The bottom line, you should educate yourself and know your state auto insurance law and what is required in your state. Nonetheless, if you have been injured in an auto accident and your insurance is not providing your coverage as specified under your policy, speak to an experienced Central Florida personal injury and car accident lawyer at Trial Pro. Call us at Trial Pro, P.A. At 1-800-TRIAL PRO.