Frequently Asked Questions - What Is Full Coverage Car Insurance?
What usually comes to your mind when you hear the term “full coverage” Florida automobile insurance? At first glance, that really sounds very comforting, very complete. Anyone driving a vehicle might very well feel confident that they had protected themselves against the potential unpleasant financial aftereffects of a motor vehicle accident by having purchased coverage as per the Florida state requirements. But merely having a policy including only the currently required Florida coverage actually does not offer the Florida driver all that much protection, to say the least.
First of all, the term “full coverage” is somewhat misleading, and truthfully gives on the wrong impression. Instead of fulfilling all of your automobile insurance needs and thus giving you real peace of mind, it really just gives you the most minimal protection which is actually only what the law in Florida requires. Specifically, drivers are required to carry only ten thousand dollars in Personal Injury Protection coverage, also referred to as PIP. PIP coverage automatically kicks in after an accident no matter who is found to be at fault for the accident (providing that the injured person treats within fourteen days of the date of the accident) and pays eighty percent of your medical expenses along with sixty percent of your wage loss if the latter applies. Basically, your required PIP coverage gets the ball rolling on paying for your initial necessary medical treatment while the details of the motor vehicle accident are being sorted out. In addition, PIP will also extend coverage to any of your family members that are currently residing with you who do not have their own automobile insurance policies. In fact, your PIP coverage will even protect the members of your family who sustain injuries while they are riding as a passenger in somebody else’s vehicle, and, believe it or not, PIP will cover you, the policyholder, if you are hit by a car and suffer injuries while walking or riding a bicycle.
Full coverage in Florida also includes ten thousand dollars in Property Damage Liability coverage, also known as PDL. PDL coverage can assist you in paying for damage to someone else’s vehicle or property (such as buildings, fences, lights, and so forth) which result from an accident that you yourself caused to happen. If the other driver’s car is so damaged that it is considered to be a complete and total loss, PDL will pay a portion of the cost for a replacement vehicle. It will not cover the costs of any damage to your own vehicle, however. Coverage that is needed to do that would be collision coverage, along with comprehensive coverage. Collision insurance coverage will pay a portion or all of your own vehicle repair costs, whether as a result of getting into an accident with another car or as a result of your driving your car into a building, a tree, or some other inanimate object like your neighbor’s mailbox. Also, should you be involved in a one-vehicle accident, collision coverage will help cover the damages caused to your own car as well. Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, protects you from damages stemming from things like vandalism or theft, falling trees coming down on your car, and natural disasters like a flood or a hurricane. It is important to note that neither collision coverage nor comprehensive coverage is currently required to be purchased in the state of Florida.
Today, as we know, the costs to repair or replace a vehicle, together with the costs of medical treatment, are, to put it very mildly, very high. When you stop and consider that disturbing fact, the ten-thousand-dollar limits each for PIP and PDL suddenly seem very low and nowhere near sufficient for your protection. The basic PIP limits of ten thousand dollars can and will be paid out very quickly after treatment begins, even if you treat conservatively for your injuries. Even if someone else actually caused your motor vehicle accident, your own finances can be quickly depleted by high medical bills that are not addressed by your PIP coverage due to the exhaustion of those basic benefits early on in the course of your treatment for your injuries.
Very often it is human nature for many people to think that a significant motor vehicle accident cannot or will not ever happen to them. But thinking along those lines may very well be one of the reasons that so many drivers in the state of Florida are at any one moment driving around with insufficient insurance coverage or, worse yet, with no automobile insurance coverage at all. Unfortunately, as we all know, anything can happen to anyone at any time. Being lulled into a false sense of security by thinking you are “fully covered” by merely complying with Florida’s mandated coverages is just not a wise position to take.
Instead of putting your head in the sand, plan to do your automobile insurance research and then plan to shop around so that you can wisely purchase the insurance coverage limits that will protect you and yours, along with your financial assets. But plan to do all of that before a catastrophic motor vehicle accident has a chance to happen to you. The odds are that the injury and property damage costs that you incur as a result of a motor vehicle accident will far exceed those minimum requirements that constitute full coverage. You and your assets will be far better protected by the wise purchase of additional benefits such as Bodily Injury Liability insurance and uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits (neither of which are required coverages, along with increasing the limits of the required coverages of PIP and PDL. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that your financial assets could be threatened if damage costs far exceed your policy limits. The bottom line is that you should purchase the maximum coverage you can afford, based on your financial position and budget.