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What No Fault Car Insurance Is?

Florida Auto Insurance - The Basics

This article will cover the basics of how car insurance in Florida handles motor vehicle accident (MVA) claims.

The state of Florida is one of about 12 states that are referred to as No Fault States. We will explain in laymen's terms what No Fault insurance is, by definition, and what that means for the insured as a consumer.

No Fault, in terms of auto insurance, means that regardless of who is at fault in an motor vehicle accident (MVA), the injured party's own insurance pays their medical bills. If both parties are injured, they would each look to their own insurance company to cover their medical expenses. These benefits are known as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. In Florida PIP benefits cover only medical bills and lost wages. The benefits cap out when the coverage limitation has been met.

Florida is no fault state

There are exceptions, if a person sustained a permanent injury, they could then seek restitution from the at-fault driver and their insurance. If the insured wishes to sue for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, etc., they would have to file a separate liability suit against the at-fault driver and his insurance carrier. They would also be able to file suit in the instance where their PIP benefits maxed out on their own policy, as mentioned previously. Each No Fault state has what is known as "thresholds" for liability claims. Thresholds set criteria that injured parties must meet in order for them to be permitted to file liability claims against other drivers.

Florida requires drivers to purchase the minimum PIP benefits. The limits in Florida for PIP benefits are $10,000 and an additional $10,000 in coverage for Property Damage Liability. These limits may be increased at the request of the insured, however, they come at a cost to the consumer via a higher premium.

If any damage is sustained to the vehicle itself, those claims would go to the at-fault party's insurance. No Fault pertains to personal injury claims only and would not handle any payouts for vehicle damage. If there is not a clear at fault driver and one could not seek damages from the other parties insurance, they would then look to their own policy's collision coverage to file a claim for the damages. Not all insured drivers may have collision coverage, however, so individuals would need to refer to their policies to verify they have that coverage.

Floridians must purchase their insurance coverage through licensed insurance brokers. Driving without auto insurance is illegal and punishment can include loss of license as well as fines.

That being said, purchasing at least the minimum required insurance ensures that your medical bills are covered by your own PIP benefits, and you have recourse to pursue an additional liability claim against the at-fault party if necessary.

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