New Year’s Resolution: starting the year off right by checking your auto insurance policy

Jan 24, 2020 | Firm News

Wittmer | Linehan represents clients in all injury cases including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and injuries occurring as a result of unsafe work conditions. In addition to personal injury cases, we also handle workers compensation, estate and trust challenges, social security disability, insurance disputes and wrongful death. If you or someone you know has been injured at work, has a dispute with an insurance company or Social Security for denied claims, has a challenge to a Will and/or Trust or wishes to dispute the validity of a Will and/or Trust, please contact us for a free consultation.

As we head into the new year, it’s a good idea to review your insurance policies to ensure that you’re sufficiently covered in case 2018 brings you an accident. We regularly see clients that don’t have the proper insurance coverage, and we want to remind you of what is necessary in the state of Florida, as well as other things you should consider.

Under the Florida No-Fault Law, all automobile owners and drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in both Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) liability. However, the No-Fault Law does not apply to motorcyclists, which means that motorcyclists are not required to carry PIP or PD liability insurance, unless their lender requires it. Nevertheless, just because it’s not required doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good idea to include in your plan.

Motorcyclists, like drivers, are subject to the Financial Responsibility Law. This means that if you’re at fault in an accident, everything your insurance doesn’t cover is your financial responsibility. While riders often think they could never be the cause of an accident, it does happen. Without PIP, any bodily harm that comes to you and your passengers isn’t covered, and without PD, you’ll have to pay for damages to the other party’s vehicle out of pocket.

For at-fault drivers, PIP does not cover the injuries or death of the other driver, leaving you with the responsibility. Adding Bodily Injury Liability (BI) Insurance provides a minimum of $10,000 coverage for one affected person and $20,000 for two or more affected people to take care of injuries or fatalities among members of the party not at fault in the crash. Considering that a one-night hospital stay can cost upwards of $4,000, we suggest a $35 per month increase to raise those limits to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.

An estimated one in seven drivers in the U.S. does not have auto insurance. In Florida, it’s estimated to be one in four. While Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UI) Insurance is not required under current Florida law, adding it to your policy will prove to be a phenomenal bargain should an uninsured motorist injure you, a family member, or a passenger. An extra $35 per month can add $50,000 for an individual and $100,000 for an accident.

Also consider that if you paid off your car loan in the last year, you may be paying for insurance your lender no longer requires you to have. You may want to consider raising the deductible in order to lower your premium, or do away with collision altogether if the value of your vehicle has depreciated.

Lastly, if you went all year without any incidents, ask your auto insurance agent about available discounts. Getting a discount for being a safe driver could save you quite a bit of money with which you can enjoy the new year. If you’d like more information, click here to view our insurance comparison chart.