In Florida, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. Specifically, they are required to carry at least $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) and $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP), also known as “Florida no-fault insurance”. Property damage liability pays for damage a driver causes to other people’s property after a vehicle crash, and personal injury protection pays a portion of an individual’s medical bills and lost wages if they are injured in an auto accident. Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
It is important to note that these are the minimum auto insurance requirements in Florida, and these requirements are much lower than the minimum requirements in most other states, and much lower than they should be. The majority of states require drivers to carry some type of bodily injury liability insurance in case they cause an accident with serious injuries and they are sued by other injured parties.
Bodily injury liability limits can be as low as $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident and as high as $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident or more. It all depends on state minimum requirements and the preferences of the policyholder. This type of insurance is there to protect your assets in the event that you cause an accident with serious injuries to others, and without it, your personal assets would be at risk in a lawsuit.
If you carry just the bare minimum auto insurance requirements according to Florida law, your coverage is woefully inadequate. We all know that these days, $10,000 does not go very far to pay for the medical expenses and lost wages of someone who gets injured in an accident, and if the costs exceed this amount, you could be on the hook for additional damages if you do not have bodily injury liability coverage.
Do I Need to Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If you choose to have bodily injury liability coverage in your Florida auto insurance policy, you will also be offered uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, usually with the same amount of coverage as you chose for bodily injury liability. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers you for losses in the event that you are injured in a car accident and the other driver does not have insurance, or the other driver does not have an adequate amount of insurance to cover your damages.
Although you do not technically “need” uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance in Florida to be in compliance with state law, there are some very good reasons why you should choose this coverage:
We are All at Risk for an Auto Accident
Statistically, the average individual can expect to be involved in three or four auto accidents during their lifetime. In Florida, there were just under 400,000 motor vehicle accidents reported in 2018, resulting in more than 250,000 injuries and more than 3,000 fatalities. This puts Florida among the top 10 states in the nation for auto accidents. You may think it will never happen to you, and you may be the safest driver in the world. But you cannot control the actions of others, and you cannot control external factors. If you are ever involved in an accident, you want to make sure you have the proper level of insurance to cover both the injuries of others and yourself.
Florida has a lot of Uninsured Drivers
Although the law requires it, approximately one out of every four motorists in the Sunshine State is driving without insurance. This means that if you are in a car accident, there is a 25% chance that the other driver is not insured. If you are seriously injured in an accident with an uninsured driver and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, it will be very difficult to recover compensation for your losses. If a driver does not have insurance, chances are they do not have any assets to speak of either. You could sue them, but you will most likely never see any of the damages you are awarded.
Florida has a lot of Underinsured Drivers
Because of the very low state minimum insurance requirements we discussed earlier, a large percentage of motorists in the state are not adequately insured. For example, a motorist can drive legally in the state without having any bodily injury liability insurance at all. If you are severely injured by a motorist like that, for all practical purposes, your situation would be no better than if they were uninsured.
You may not be required to have uninsured motorist insurance in Florida. But with so many accidents in the state and so many uninsured and underinsured motorists on the roadways, it is strongly advisable to pay the extra few dollars and choose this coverage. Otherwise, you are exposing yourself to a high amount of risk when you drive in the Sunshine State.