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Personal Injury Protection, or "No-Fault" car insurance, is mandated by the state of Florida for all drivers to carry. PIP pays for injuries you sustain in an accident regardless of who was at-fault in the accident. Just like other states that mandate PIP, Florida has its own set of special laws and regulations.
What is covered by Florida PIP?
Most medical costs will be covered by PIP with the exception of popular, but not widely accepted practices such as acupuncture. In other states, PIP will generally cover the injuries of anyone in your household, but in Florida, you can choose whether you want your PIP to cover just yourself or other residents in your household. The following are eligible for a PIP claim:
- Medical services and medication
- Surgical services and hospital expenses
- Rehab costs
- Diagnostic services
- Ambulatory services
What sets Florida apart from other states is that only 80% of your medical costs will be covered by PIP. So if you have injuries that cost $10,000, PIP will only pay for $8,000 of that. Furthermore, if your injury is not considered an emergency, you will only be entitled to $2,500 worth of benefits. If you have a good health insurance policy, it might take care of the rest of the costs, but you should make sure it will cover car accident injuries.
Florida PIP and economic benefits
If you are injured in an accident and are disabled, Florida PIP will pay for 60% of your lost wages, subject to a $10,000 limit. This payment also includes services you would normally provide, but now cannot because of the accident. These services include daily chores like doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking care of pets, etc.
Death benefits of Florida PIP
If the policyholder were killed, PIP would pay for their funeral and burial expenses in addition to the benefits listed above. You or your next of kin, are entitled to $5,000 for those associated costs.
How much does PIP cost in Florida?
In Florida, the minimum and the maximum amount of PIP you can have is $10,000. To reduce the cost of your premium, you have several options. You can opt for a higher deductible — the maximum being $1,000. When you get a quote, you can choose to exclude work loss or whether you want your PIP to cover the residents of your household. In either case, we recommend you compare quotes from multiple local insurers in order to get an affordable rate.
The following are sample car insurance quotes from a 30-year-old driver from Jacksonville, where prices reflect the state average.
PIP Premium/Full Policy Quote
PIP w/o Work Loss
Going with a higher deductible is often the best way to reduce your premium. Opting out of work loss only knocks off a modest amount from your yearly rate. Before you opt for the $1,000 deductible, however, remember you will still be responsible for the 20% of your medical bills your PIP won't cover. Be sure you would be able to cover those charges as well as pay $1,000 out of pocket.
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When and how to file a PIP claim in Florida
Florida has strict rules to follow when filing a claim for PIP. The most important is treatment for any injuries must happen within two weeks of the car accident to be eligible for PIP reimbursement. Your claim will not be accepted after two weeks. Due to a high incidence of insurance fraud in the state of Florida, your insurer has up to 60 days to investigate your claim for any falsehood but must pay for your damages within 30 days, even if there is suspicion.
If your case is not straightforward, or your insurance company is giving you issues, it may be a good idea to get a personal injury lawyer to ensure you get your payment. In the meantime, you should keep a log of all of your medical expenses following the accident.
For the work loss benefits, you will need to submit a "Wage and Salary" verification that is filled out by your employer. The verification documents your wages in the 13 weeks prior to the accident. A lawyer might help ensure your employer fills out the verification in a timely manner. You may also be required to get a note from your physician detailing how you are disabled.
Florida PIP law still gives you a right to sue
No-fault states like Florida institute PIP laws to reduce the number of people suing each other over damages. Most no-fault states, including Florida, only allow drivers to sue when the injuries are considered severely disfiguring and/or permanent or resulted in death. Florida however, also allows drivers to sue even if the injury is not severe, so long as the medical costs exceed $10,000.
So if you are injured in an accident that results in $20,000 worth of hospital bills, you are allowed to sue the other driver for the remaining $10,000 not covered by your PIP. You may also sue them for any emotional pain and suffering you think the injuries have caused you.
Considering the average hospital stay after an accident is around $60,000 it is probably wise to have a good amount of bodily injury liability coverage on your policy. While Florida does not make that coverage mandatory, if you were to get sued for excessive medical costs, the other driver can sue against your bodily injury insurance, rather than you directly.
Why you should also consider adding medical payments coverage
Medical Payments or MedPay is essentially the same type of insurance as PIP except it does not have economic benefits. It may be worth having on your policy in Florida because the limits are quite low. MedPay can add an extra $5,000 worth of coverage for around $100 per year for our sample 30-year-old driver.
Additionally, MedPay can help pay for the 20% of your costs that PIP won't cover if your health insurance won't cover it as well. MedPay can also help pay down the deductible on your PIP.