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What is personal injury protection?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of automobile insurance coverage that is required in the State of Florida. Florida’s PIP laws are found in Chapter 627 of Florida’s Statutes.

F.S. 627.736 states that: An automobile insurance policy issued in the State of Florida must provide personal injury protection to the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured motor vehicle, passengers in the motor vehicle, and other persons struck by the motor vehicle and suffering bodily injury while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle, subject to certain exclusions, to a limit of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits resulting from bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as follows:

Medical benefits. Eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and rehabilitative services, including prosthetic devices and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services if the individual receives initial services within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident.

Disability benefits. Sixty percent of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per individual from inability to work proximately caused by the injury sustained by the injured person, plus all expenses reasonably incurred in obtaining from others ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those that, but for the injury, the injured person would have performed without income for the benefit of his or her household. All disability benefits payable under this provision must be paid at least every 2 weeks.

Death benefits. Death benefits of $5,000 per individual. Death benefits are in addition to the medical and disability benefits provided under the insurance policy. The insurer may pay death benefits to the executor or administrator of the deceased, to any of the deceased’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage, or to any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled to such benefits.

Florida law does allow insurance policies to exclude PIP benefits coverage (and most policies do) for: (1) Injuries sustained by the named insured and relatives residing in the same household while occupying another motor vehicle owned by the named insured and not insured under the policy or for injury sustained by any person operating the insured motor vehicle without the express or implied consent of the insured. And (2) To anyone, if such person’s conduct contributed to his or her injury because they injured themselves intentionally or were injured while committing a felony.

PIP is frequently called “No-Fault Insurance” because it applies no matter who is at fault. But always be aware of some situations when it does not apply, such as farm equipment, recreational or off-road vehicles, mopeds, and motorcycles (PIP coverage may be available on motorcycle policies and is very expensive). At the recent request of the automobile insurance industry, Florida legislators have made substantial changes to the law to restrict people’s ability to get PIP benefits, to limit the medical treatment and to limit what the medical providers can charge for their services.

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