If the other driver was at fault, then you might think their insurance should pay for everything. In some states, that would be the case. However, Florida is a “no-fault auto insurance state,” which means that the insurance coverage of the driver will cover him or herself and his/her passengers.
This coverage is required as part of the minimum liability you need to legally drive in Florida. PIP (personal injury protection) of $10,000 or higher is mandated, as is $10,000 of property liability coverage. There will be a limit per person as well as per accident that may vary from policy to policy.
Beyond the coverage limits on your auto policy, however, the no-fault system ends. That means that you would need to get additional reimbursement from the at-fault driver, and you may need to go to court to prove he/she was at fault.
Adding uninsured and under-insured motorist cover to your policy will make this situation less likely, but it’s still possible the medical bills and property damage done will exceed the policy’s limits and make you choose between covering your injured passengers out of pocket or watching them sue the other driver for the remaining expenses. By increasing your coverage limits, you help prevent this from happening.
When Will A Friend’s Auto Insurance Pay?
As noted above, in most instances, the insurance of the driver of the car you were a passenger in at the time of the accident will pay for your medical bills, loss of income, and certain other expenses or losses stemming from the accident.
From one perspective, a friend or family member may be hesitant about filing for compensation through their loved one’s insurance policy. But on the flip side, they may have little choice if the medical bills are overwhelming. Plus, every responsible driver will consider their passengers to be “under their care”.
And Florida’s system of auto accident compensation has it built in that passengers are covered by the policy of “their driver” under ordinary circumstances. The purpose of this law is to reduce unnecessary court costs and to simplify the system when it comes to low to moderate cost accidents. As long as everyone is insured (or one driver has uninsured motorist protection), the no-fault system saves time and money by avoiding most legal battles over car accidents.
Finally, note that it is possible that you could be a passenger in your own vehicle. If you let an authorized driver drive your car, then you and your friend who drove for you are covered. But clarify ahead of time with your insurer who is or is not an authorized, covered driver of your insured vehicle.
Whether you are shopping for auto insurance for the first time, or are looking to switch policies, be sure you understand how your auto insurance benefits would apply to your passengers in an accident, as well as to yourself.
To learn more about auto insurance coverage in Florida, contact the experts at Flagler County Insurance Agency today!