As an attorney who specializes in car accidents, I get asked all the time about auto insurance. What is the best policy to get? How much should I spend? What do all the different terms mean? While Kemp, Ruge & Green Law Group does not support one auto insurance company over another, nor can we put dollar amount on what is best for every individual and family, we can explain what the different terms mean. In previous posts we discussed uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in “Why You Should Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage” and Personal Injury Protection (no-fault insurance) in “Updates On Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) In Florida.” Now, we will explain discuss Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (B.I.)
Of all the main insurance terms, B.I. is the one that most confuses people and with good reason. Most insurance coverage is designed to protect the person buying the insurance coverage. For example, when you buy health insurance, you buy it so if you get sick, you can go to the doctor to get better. You do not buy health insurance, in case you get someone else sick, so he can go to the doctor. However, B.I. is purchased precisely so that if you are driving on the road and cause an accident, your insurance company will pay (at least up to the limit of your policy) for the injured party or parties to get medical attention.
Now, do you have to purchase B.I. to drive an automobile in Florida? No…with exceptions. If you have been convicted of Driving Under The Influence (DUI), then according to Florida Statute 324.023, you are required to carry B.I in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. You would then be required to carry that for 3 years after you get your license back. But, if you have not been convicted of a DUI, then no, you do not HAVE to get B.I. However, we are here to propose two great reasons why you should.
1. It does not matter how fantastic and careful of a driver you are. We ALL make mistakes. It would be nice if all mistakes were made at low speeds when no other cars were around, but life is not like that. Accidents happen everyday on 275, 1-4, 54, and basically any other major road you could think of around here. Most of the accidents were someone’s fault, and most of the at-fault drivers probably thought they were incapable of making a mistake, too. If those drivers that caused the accident did not have B.I. to cover the costs of the other drivers’ injuries, then the injured drivers can go after the at-fault drivers’ assets. They can go after your business, investment property, stocks, etc. So much of what you worked so hard for could be gone, just because you didn’t want to pay a few extra dollars every six months.
“AHA” you may think to yourself, “but I don’t have any assets, so I will keep my extra few dollars.” Unfortunately, you are still not off the hook. The Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires that an at-fault driver that causes personal injury in an automobile accident must provide at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. If you do not have B.I., and you do not have the money to cover it out-of-pocket, then you could lose your license. Granted, if you do not care about money, and do not care about driving, there is still ONE more reason you should get B.I. Do it…for your health.
2. As we discussed in an early post, uninsured/underinsured drivers are everywhere. If one of them hits you and causes severe damage, you (most likely) will not be able to pay for the treatment or spend years trying to paying off medical bills. What does this coverage have to do with B.I.? Everything! You cannot get uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage WITHOUT first getting B.I. If you want to protect you and your family from other people’s negligence, you also have to protect other drivers from you and your family’s negligence.
The Kemp, Ruge & Green Law Group sincerely hopes all of you that have read this that do not have B.I. will head to the phone and call your insurance agent to get it. For those of you that already do, you made a great choice in protecting yourself, your family, and your community; it’s a win-win-win! As always, if you or someone you know, has been in an accident or has questions for us, contact us today or just leave a comment. We will get back to you as soon as possible.