Your fault not your fault, accidents happen. As much as we prepare, getting auto insurance, wearing our seat belt, taking a defensive driving course, we also need to be prepared for what to do on the scene when an accident happens to you.
Immediately stop your vehicle or do not move it from the place it has stopped.
As hard as it may be at this time, keep calm. The leg work you do at the scene will help you later in case of any disputes.
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries and if so call 911
Check the other vehicle for injuries to report them as well if they have not called.
Call the police and report the accident right away ( most auto insurance policies require notification of police within a specified time period if the accident is a hit and run)
Get names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver’s license numbers from all drivers as well as license plate(s) and vehicle identification numbers.
Ask to see driver’s license(s) and vehicle registration(s) to verify that the information is accurate.
Get names, addresses, and telephone numbers of other passengers and any witnesses.
If you have a camera or a camera on your cell phone, use it. Take different angles of the accident with all the cars involved, damage to your vehicle, the accident scene for traffic lights, signs,etc.
If the owner of a damaged car or damaged property cannot be located, leave a note with the names and addresses of the driver and owners of the involved cars.
• If anyone is injured or the vehicle damage exceeds $750.00, you must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days.
Failure to notify the DMV may result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
Notify your agent and/or your insurance company right away.
You should also be aware of things NOT TO DO
Do Not – Argue with other drivers and passengers. Tell your story to the police and your insurance company.
Do Not – Sign statements regarding fault or promises to pay for damage.
Do Not – Sign anything releasing the other party from further responsibility. Example: If another party offers to pay your deductible.
By releasing the other party, you jeopardize your insurance company’s right, which may lead to the company may refusing to pay for damage to your car.
The minimum limits of auto insurance in the State Of Florida a valid Florida license plate and four wheels are:
$10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) also called Florida No Fault Insurance
This policy covers you in the case of an accident, your fault or the other drivers. PIP will also cover passengers who do not have PIP as long they do not have a vehicle registered. Those that have their own PIP coverage can use their own coverage. Other coverage includes, pedestrians being struck and suffering an injury by a vehicle, your child on the school bus in case of injury, if you are in someone else vehicle involved in an accident.
The $10,000 breakdown is 80% of your medical, 60% of lost wages and 100% of household services for a standard policy. For an extended policy is it 100% medical, 80% of lost wages and 100% for household services. Additional Coverage for PIP is available with 100% medical, 80% of lost wages and 100% of household services up to a higher limit then the standard policy. The extended and additional coverage is only for the person with the policy.
$10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL)
This is for damages you or members of your family cause to someones vehicle in an accident. You are liable for not only personal injury but property damage as well.
$10,000 Bodily Injury Liability for one person in any accident
$20,000 Bodily Injury Liability two or more people in any accident
Bodily Injury is not required at this time for a standard driver, but is a very necessary coverage. Bodily Injury Protection covers you in case of a serious accident that may cause sever injury or even death. It will cover you and your family members who live with you and drive someone else’s vehicle. You will also have coverage for representation in the case where there is a lawsuit.
Required Bodily Injury Protection – If you have been convicted of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) you will be required to have Bodily Injury Protection on your auto policy. After October 1, 2007 the least required is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Once you get your driving privileges back, you must carry Bodily Injury Protection for up to 3 years.
According to Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law you are financially responsible for damages and injuries you cause in an accident. PIP and PDL may not be enough coverage and having Bodily Injury Protection can take over what the others may not be able to cover in case of an accident.
Even if you have Full Coverage Auto Insurance, ask if Bodily Injury is included.
The benefits of having auto insurance is not just coverage to help protect you and your family with injuries and damages caused by an accident. As well coverage could protect you against financial loss, repairing or replacing your vehicle if stolen or damaged.