There has been a lot of publicity about the impending sunset and death of the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance law in Florida. Various pundits have opined about the good and bad effects of no more PIP but few discuss what the consumer should do when PIP expires. The answer really depends on what other insurance you already have.
At the outset it is important to remember that PIP provided limited coverage anyway. PIP covered just 80% of medical bills, 60% of loss of earnings up to a maximum combined total of $10,000.00 and a $5,000.00 death benefit. In exchange for those benefits you paid for with PIP, the law, in turn, took away your right to recover from the at fault party for medical bills and loss of earnings covered by PIP and took away all rights to recover for pain and suffering unless there was a permanent injury, significant scarring or loss of important bodily function. Without PIP it is pretty simple: the at fault party is accountable for all damages they cause in an auto accident.
Without PIP you can recover 100% of your pain and suffering, 100% of your medical bills and 100% of your loss of earnings from the party at fault in the accident. No matter who is at fault, if you have health insurance then you do not need to replace the PIP because health insurance covers it. No matter who is at fault, you do not need to replace the PIP for loss of earnings coverage if you already have disability coverage. Regardless of who is at fault, without PIP you lose the $5,0000.00 PIP death benefit. To protect your family you can buy life insurance with much greater coverage and for less money than you pay for PIP coverage. If you are in an auto accident while on the job you do not need PIP because your medical bills, loss of earnings and death benefit are covered by workers compensation insurance. If you don’t have any or do not want to use your health insurance you can buy auto medical payments coverage even after PIP expires and usually at a much lower cost than PIP.
In cases where the at fault party does not have insurance or does not have enough you can purchase uninsured and underinsured (UM) motorist coverage. It will protect you far beyond PIP. It will pay for 100% of medical bills, 100% of wage loss and for 100% of your pain and suffering up to whatever limits of coverage you buy. In fact, you need UM coverage even if you have PIP and health and disability insurance. You see, UM coverage protects you and your family by paying for all damages from personal injury in a car accident.
In summary, while PIP provided some benefit to the 20% or so of Floridians without health insurance it only provided $10,000 worth of coverage at 80% and that or more medical payments coverage can still be purchased even after PIP expires, The other 80% of Floridians with health insurance will save from paying for the duplicate coverage but can still purchase auto medical payments coverage if they want additional coverage, More importantly, with or without PIP all Floridians need UM coverage which is the only coverage you can buy to fully protect you and your family from bad drivers.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.