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What does "no-fault" auto insurance mean in Florida?

Florida is one of 12 states and Puerto Rico with no-fault auto insurance laws. They were designed to keep insurance premiums low by offering quick payouts and avoiding lawsuits. However, the system is often criticized as being inadequate and frequently abused.

As a result, insurance companies in Florida can offer premiums that are lower than in other states. Critics say no-fault laws protect irresponsible and dangerous drivers from lawsuits by limiting liability amounts and result in more fatalities.

Mandatory insurance coverage for drivers

Under the Sunshine State’s car insurance laws, drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in coverage on policies for two types of insurance:

  • Property Damage Liability: PDL coverage pays for damage to someone else’s property caused by the policy owner or anyone else driving their vehicle. However, it will not cover the damage caused to the policy owner’s car.
  • Personal Injury Protection: PIP coverage covers injuries to the driver, their passengers and anyone else in the event of a crash, including pedestrians, cyclists and children riding on school buses. This coverage covers up to 80% of the medical bills and/or 60% of lost wages combined, up to the policy limits (usually limited to a total of $10,000 per person, but extended amounts are available from some insurers for an additional premium) subject to any selected deductible.

Critics say quick payouts lead to false reports

When medical claims occur after an accident, the first $10,000 will come from the driver’s PIP coverage, regardless of whether they were at fault. While supporters of no-fault insurance say that has kept costs down, critics argue it often leads to exaggerated or fabricated injuries. A study by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that no-fault insurance results in more fatalities, DUIs and speeding tickets.

Driving with the minimal no-fault coverages will usually not adequately cover you or anyone you may injure.  Great care should be taken in selecting and purchasing appropriate insurance coverage for you and your family, and it should be updated regularly.  There are vast number of drivers in Florida carrying insufficient or no insurance coverage at all.  For that reason, Uninsured Motorist Coverage, which covers you when the person who causes you injury has no, or insufficient, coverage should always be considered and purchased when you can afford to do so. 

Despite Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, drivers have rights when injured by someone else’s negligence on the roadways. No-fault coverage is quickly eaten up by medical treatment, especially if you go to the emergency room. Injuries caused by reckless drivers can result in extensive injuries, even death, creating massive medical bills, lost wages and other costs. An experienced lawyer will help protect anyone injured as a result of negligence and work to get them the compensation they deserve.

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