In this article, we focus on Florida's auto insurance laws and coverage requirements, including minimum requirements for all four-wheeled vehicles registered in the state, and how Florida's status as a "no-fault" state affects injured drivers and passengers after a car accident. (If you're new to no-fault car insurance, we provide background information in our article No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics. And for more details on Florida laws that could affect a car accident insurance claim or lawsuit, see our companion article Car Accident Laws in Florida.)
Florida follows a "no-fault" system when it comes to injury claims after a car accident. Drivers are required to carry auto insurance that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. When the policyholder (or anyone else covered under the terms of the policy) is injured in a car accident, PIP pays medical expenses and certain non-medical-related costs associated with the accident -- like lost wages and the costs of hiring someone to do household chores (known as "replacement benefits") -- up to the coverage limits.
By contrast, in an "at-fault" insurance state (also known as a "fault" or "tort liability" state), drivers may choose whether to file claims with their own insurers, file claims with another driver's insurer, or take the other driver to court to prove he or she was the one at fault, and therefore the one responsible for paying the costs of the accident.
All Florida vehicle owners are required to carry minimum PIP benefits in their policies. These benefits kick in regardless of who was at fault in the accident. But PIP protections benefit more than just the policyholder who is injured while involved in an accident in his or her own vehicle. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, PIP coverage also applies to:
Your PIP coverage also protects you while you're a passenger in someone else's vehicle, and as a pedestrian or bicyclist if you suffer injuries in a crash involving a motor vehicle.
Note that anyone who is riding in your car who carries PIP will receive coverage under their own PIP for their injuries. The same goes for most licensed drivers who are driving your vehicle with your permission.
Florida drivers can only step outside of the state's no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver directly:
This threshold is significant because an injured driver or passenger can't receive certain kinds of compensation via a no-fault or PIP claim. Most notably, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are excluded from the no-fault/PIP process. But once you're permitted to step outside of the no-fault construct and file a liability claim or lawsuit, you're entitled to seek the full spectrum of car accident damages, including payment for pain and suffering, which can really boost the value of a car accident claim.
Finally, it's important to note that vehicle damage is never part of a no-fault or PIP claim. If you want to get payment for damage to a vehicle after an accident, you're free to pursue an insurance action or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Now that you understand how no-fault PIP coverage works, what kinds and amounts of car insurance coverage are mandated under Florida law? The following minimums are required in order to register a vehicle in the state: