Recent studies have shown that the average American spends 18 full days per year in their car which translates to about 8 hours and 22 minutes per week. When you think about it, that’s a lot of time to spend simply commuting to your destinations.
This is why most of us spend so much time shopping for and picking out what car we purchase. We want comfort, we want nice looking and most importantly, we want reliability. The same should be said for auto insurance. We should be spending as much time and effort when we choose our insurance policy because it truly is just as important as the actual car we drive.…
This would typically be a very long answer but to be as concise as possible, there is a basic level required by Florida state law then beyond that is completely up to the consumer.
Florida mandates that any licensed driver that owns a vehicle be insured with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) coverage. They both cover exactly what they sound like. PIP is for you or anyone else riding in your vehicle at the time of an incident should any of you be hurt. PD is to cover any property belonging to someone else that you may damage.
Beyond that you also have:
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage - This is coverage that you purchase to protect your vehicle that is an optional coverage in terms of legality but depending on your status with your vehicle it may be a requirement of a lienholder. In most instances when a car is being leased or financed, the financial institution responsible for your loan will require this coverage with a $500 deductible for each to protect their financial interest. On rare occasions they will be okay with $1,000 deductibles however they nearly always make this a requirement. However once you fully own your vehicle this becomes your choice.
Bodily Injury Coverage - This is coverage you have in the event that you cause an accident and subsequent injury to another party. When this happens, if they have medical bills, prolonged injury/disruption of their life or they bring a lawsuit, this is the coverage that will protect your financial interests. In the event an accident happens and you don’t have this coverage, it can deplete any money you do have or even result in wage garnishment. Although this is an optional coverage, it can also be forced on you by the state to carry if you are involved in an accident, are at fault and were not carrying this coverage. The bottom line is that even though optional, this is arguably the most important coverage to carry.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) - This is also what it sounds like, it’s an additional back up coverage that would kick in in the event you are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured and you have exhausted all of your appropriate coverage limits. Sure, you can view this as a worst case scenario coverage but it does happen and it happens frequently so it’s important to protect yourself and your livelihood.
There are also different options available through multiple companies that offer roadside assistance and rental reimbursement due to a need as a result of an accident.
As an agent, this is one of the more difficult questions to answer for a few different reasons. Much like fingerprints, “full coverage” has an entirely unique meaning person to person. To some it means just having comprehensive and collision, to others it means having bodily injury and/or uninsured motorist coverage. To others it can just mean having what’s required for their specific situation like leasing a vehicle so it’s important to ask questions both as a consumer and as an agent.
Obviously, the closest to full coverage anyone can have is having at least some coverage in every area offered by the insurance company, but shopping for price point leads most astray from having appropriate coverage to protect themselves from something unplanned.
Asking yourself about what you realistically can afford if you were to sustain an injury or damage can lead you to what should be full coverage for you personally. Remember to be honest, because most of us can’t afford to come out of pocket in the event their car is a total loss so it’s important to support yourself as best as you can.
Florida is a destination for people of all walks of life. People flock here for the weather, entertainment, beaches and paradise. What also flocks to the area is a trove of other issues that have caused insurance companies to charge some of the higher rates in the nation.
Due to the high instances of fraud, under or uninsured drivers. Remember, insurance is a calculated risk. Any and everything that can be accounted for, will be accounted for. It isn’t all bad though. Companies offer ways for you to lower your rate for yourself.
Safe driving records, being a homeowner, education, some occupations and even telematic devices of the car are just a few examples of discounts offered by multiple different companies to combat high premiums.
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...We should be comforted by the same things that make our car so appealing…. Comfort and reliability. It may not be as fun since it isn’t a tangible item, but it is every bit as important.
Unfortunately, none of us have the ability to see into the future, but shopping for car insurance is a time when we have the ability to help our future selves before we need it. Is the vehicle protected from damage? Are you protected from injury? Are you prepared for unexpected crime or acts of nature? Are your financial interests safe guarded? These are all things that seem like a distant worst case scenario, but they happen every single day to regular people just like you and I. Being properly informed as to what you are purchasing, what you aren’t purchasing and how that can affect you in the event of an incident is the first step in securing your present and your future.
In an effort to get you started in the right direction to properly prepare and educate yourself, here are a few FAQ’s that might make this process a bit easier for you.