PIP coverage in Florida explained


PIP coverage in Florida explained by Attorney Colonel Airth. What is PIP coverage? Personal Injury Protection insurance in Florida.


Attorney Colonel Airth: When you have an accident and you get hurt or your car is damaged, you got issues about getting your car fixed and what happens, and you got issues about your personal injury. What it takes to make a claim, what has to happen before you have a claim even. An important thing is that they changed law about is. If you have an accident it’s important that you go see a doctor within 14 days, for your personal injury protection benefits to kick in. If you wait too long, and 15 days would be too long, then suddenly you have difficult-- you might not even have a claim at all against your own personal injury protective benefits. 

Because everybody’s insurance policy in Florida has personal injury protective benefits. It's the no fault law, and what the legislature in its wisdom decided is, if someone who’s hurt in a car accident, that their own insurance company had to pay medical expenses and lost wages up to, usually, $10,000. And so everybody’s policy has that. So if you get hurt in an accident, doesn’t matter who was at fault, your company has to pay that first $10,000, if you will, of lost wages and medical expenses. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: That’s called PIP coverage.

Attorney Colonel Airth: Yes, PIP, Personal Injury Protection. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: What were they thinking about getting rid of PIP coverage a couple of years ago?

Attorney Colonel Airth: They keep talking about that and because there’s a lot of fraud involved in it and because it’s very difficult sometimes to know. Someone says, “My neck hurts,” you can’t look at him and tell that one way or the other. And so there’s a lot of fraud involved in it and they found that there were people who had rings where they actually hit each other with cars to create claim time when there wasn't one. And so they keep talking about that, but I think what they find - they being the insurance companies - is that this is better than the old system. The old system was you could sue somebody if you had $5 damages. 

Now you have to have a permanent impairment of some percentage given to you by a doctor before you have a claim against the other party. And that’s the no fault idea, that is that no matter what happened you can make some recoveries of your lost wages and medical expenses up to $10,000, regardless of who was to fault and regardless of how bad you’re hurt. And then you cannot sue the other party unless you have a permanent impairment. You can use this for out of pocket money—

Attorney Tom Olsen: I know one of the things that you do is insurance claims and insurance denials of claims. Sometimes people are on automobile accidents where there’s no personal injury involved, but it’s just a question of getting their car fixed and that in it of itself can be a hassle, whether you look to your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. 

Attorney Colonel Airth: Yes. It is a hassle so I usually recommend, if the other party has insurance, you need to go to them first. Because your company, when you deal with them, you got the deductible, often times they can get the deductible back from the at-fault party, if you will, but that creates difficulties and problems and usually the other party's trying to get you to settle and out of their hair. So that’s what I usually recommend, look to the other party if there is, look to your company if there isn’t. But remember, when you’re dealing with the at-fault party you got somebody who is against you. Your company is for you. And so you can cooperate and tell your company anything and hopefully work it out. 

Another thing you ought to think and you ought to do when you’re dealing with property damage is to find out what your car’s worth before you go talk to them.