Florida’s PIP Law
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a type of no-fault insurance required of all drivers in the state of Florida. New residents of the state may find the PIP system confusing after leaving states with traditional, fault-based insurance laws, so the basics of Florida’s PIP insurance system are covered here.
What Types of Accidents Are Covered by Florida PIP?
All auto accidents, including accidents between cars and bicycles, cars and golf carts, and cars and pedestrians.
Who is Required to Carry Florida PIP Insurance?
All owners of motor vehicles must carry PIP insurance. In Florida, the PIP law only covers motor vehicles with four wheels, so drivers of motorcycles are not required to carry PIP. Although some golf carts are gasoline powered, they are not considered motor vehicles for purposes of PIP.
Who is Covered Under Florida PIP?
The owner of a vehicle is covered by PIP in any motor vehicle accident, whether he is injured as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist. The vehicle owner may elect, but is not required, to extend PIP coverage to members of his family. If family coverage is elected, family members are covered while driving or as passengers in any vehicle, not just the vehicle owned by the policyholder.
PIP insurance may also cover non-family members while drivers or passengers in your car.
PIP covers injuries sustained by covered drivers and family members anywhere in the United States and its territories, and in Canada.
Some examples of PIP coverage include:
You are the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident. Your PIP insurance covers your injuries, up to the $10,00 limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The other driver’s PIP insurance covers his injuries.
You are injured in an accident as a passenger. If you own a car, your PIP insurance covers your injuries. If you do not own a car, but a member of your household does, your family member’s PIP insurance will cover you. If you do not live in a household with someone who owns a car, you will be covered by the PIP insurance of the owner of the vehicle in which you were a passenger.
If you are a bicyclist or a pedestrian and are involved in an accident with an automobile, your PIP insurance, or that of your family member, will cover you. If neither you nor any member of your household owns a vehicle, the PIP insurance of the driver responsible for the accident will cover you.
What is covered By Florida PIP?
Medical expenses: Medical treatment, medical transport, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, and surgical services are covered up to $10,000. However, only 80% of the actual expenses are covered. For example, if the medical expenses total $5,000, PIP would cover $4,800. If the medical expenses were over $10,000, PIP would pay 80%, up to a limit of $10,000.
Additional limits apply: The most important limitation to PIP coverage is the injured person must receive treatment within 14 days of the accident. If treatment is not received within 14 days, PIP will not cover any medical expenses.
Additionally, if the medical treatment is not considered an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC), the limitation on coverage is only $2,500. Florida law defines an EMC as any injury, which, if left untreated, would reasonably be expected to cause serious jeopardy to the person’s health, serious impairment of any bodily function, or serious dysfunction of a body part or organ. A treating physician or medical professional can make a determination of EMC, but the determination does not have to be made within 14 days.
PIP covers 60% of an injured person’s lost wages, up to a limit of $10,000. The lost wages benefit may also cover payment for daily activities such as yard work and household chores that the injured person is unable to do.
PIP will cover death benefits up to $5,000, paid to the next of kin of the deceased person.
Does Florida PIP Eliminate the Right To Sue?
PIP is meant to cover relatively minor accidents, eliminating the need to sue in many cases. When medical expenses and lost wages exceed $10,000, the injured person may still sue the responsible driver for the amount by which his damages exceeded the $10,000 PIP limit. The injured person may also sue the responsible driver for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
Additional Coverage for An Insured Florida Driver
If you are the responsible party in an automobile accident, PIP will offset your total liability up to the $10,000 limit. Additional coverage for medical payments (MedPay) will cover claims against you for medical care over the $10,000 limit. The extra coverage usually results in a fairly small increase in premiums, but can save you a significant amount of money in the event of a claim.
MedPay will also cover your medical expenses over the $10,000 limit, as well as the 20% not covered by PIP, if you are the injured party in an accident. MedPay coverage will allow you to pay your medical expenses if you are unable to sue the responsible person, if the person is not insured, or while a lawsuit against the responsible person is pending.
Any automobile insured in the state of Florida is required to have PIP coverage, but your insurance agent will be able to answer any questions about extending coverage to household members and adding additional MedPay benefits.