What Does Full Coverage Mean

By: James W. Dodson

I have represented people involved in automobile accidents for more than 20 years. During my initial meetings with clients, one of the most important topics of conversation is the insurance coverage they purchased for their own auto. Many people tell me they have "full coverage", believing they are adequately insured. However, when I ask the specifics of what coverage they actually own, they generally have no idea. Do they have bodily injury coverage, which protects them if they cause injury to a third party? Did their agent explain to them the need for uninsured motorist coverage to protect them if they are injured by an uninsured driver, and did they purchase it? What limits of coverage did they actually buy? They simply do not know.

Contrary to what is generally believed to be true, Florida is not a mandatory bodily injury liability state.

The only mandatory coverage in Florida is property damage, which pays damage to somebody else's property when you are at fault, and personal injury protection, also known as no-fault. No-fault pays a portion of your medical expenses when you are involved in an accident regardless of which driver was at fault. Florida does not require the driver of an automobile to carry one cent of protection to pay for injuries caused by that driver. Nor does it require that you carry uninsured motorist coverage. Consequently, someone may be "fully insured", satisfying the minimum requirements of Florida's insurance laws, with only property damage and no-fault coverage on their vehicle. Do you believe that minimum coverage is actually enough to protect you and your loved ones?

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported in June 2004 that there were an estimated 665,000 drivers in Florida with no insurance. Of the remaining drivers in Florida, it is unknown how many carry only the minimum property damage and no-fault, with no bodily injury liability coverage to protect someone that they might injure. It is also unknown how many of those who do carry bodily injury coverage carry only the minimum of $10,000.00. We do know from our experience that a very large number of people that we represent have claims which greatly exceed the minimum bodily injury liability coverage provided by the at-fault driver's insurance company. In those situationsPsychology Articles, the injured party must rely on their own uninsured motorist coverage to pay their damages.

What coverage do you have?

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