What is PIP?
Many Floridians are duped into believing that if they carry Personal Injury Protection insurance (more commonly known as PIP), they are fully insured. While it is true that Florida law only requires a person to carry PIP insurance to drive a car, PIP is as far from “full coverage” as the distance between the north and south poles.
Under PIP, individuals who suffer injuries are required to seek relief through the “no-fault” process. PIP provides coverage to the insured regardless of who was at fault in the accident. The goal is “to provide for medical, surgical, funeral, and disability insurance benefits without regard to fault” and to place a limitation on the right to claim damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience. In other words, even if the other driver is at fault for the crash, you must look to your own PIP insurance to cover your damages.
What Does PIP Provide?
An insurance company must provide PIP benefits to the following persons whenever they are injured in an automobile accident, regardless of how severely they are injured, to a limit of $10,000. And, your PIP coverage likely won’t pay for all of your damages. PIP typically pays (1) 80% of all reasonable expenses for necessary medical services; (2) 60% of lost income and lost earning capacity proximately caused by the injury; and (3) Death benefits of $5,000 per individual. And, the benefits you receive may also be reduced if you have a deductible on your PIP policy.
What Should You Do?
While PIP might have been a good idea when enacted many years ago, its day has come and gone. The damages in even a minor crash very often exceed the coverage available under PIP. Just think about how much a hospital or doctor charges for medical care, and then consider the cost to repair your car, and the value of your lost wages. In a blink of an eye, your “full coverage” will leave you holding the bag. To avoid this catastrophe, talk to your agent about uninsured motorist coverage, med pay, bodily injury, and other coverages that you can’t afford not to have, and that without leave you with virtually no coverage, let alone “full coverage”.
Alex N. Law, Jr. is a founding shareholder of Wites Law Firm The firm’s main office is in Lighthouse Point, Florida, and it has satellite offices throughout South Florida, as well as in various states. The firm’s practice areas include the representation of injured persons and their families in personal injury and wrongful death actions, investment disputes, and class actions; immigration; the representation of consumers in lawsuits and pre-litigation collection efforts brought by creditors, as well as in bankruptcy; and commercial and civil litigation.