According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 42,000 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2021. That’s 10.5% more than registered in 2020. These sobering statistics once again underscore the importance of insurance.
All drivers are well aware that auto insurance is integral to ensuring road safety. It offers financial protection against unforeseen incidents and accidents, as well as guarantees compensation for losses due to theft, damage, or even the destruction of the vehicle.
Here’s a quick recap of the main auto insurance types:
- Mandatory (liability coverage insurance): This type of insurance is mandated by state law and is compulsory for all vehicle owners. Its purpose is to protect the rights of those affected in accidents that cause harm to health or property.
- Voluntary: This type of insurance is not mandatory and depends on the vehicle owner’s preference. Its goal is to protect your vehicle from the risks of damage, destruction, or theft.
This article will examine Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance and Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which are mandatory in Florida. Read on to learn about these policies, the risks they cover, and how to file a compensation claim.
What Is PDL Insurance?
Property Damage Liability insurance is mandatory coverage in Florida, one of the 10 states where a no-fault auto insurance system is in effect. Under this regulation, a driver involved in an accident must make a formal complaint by filing a claim with their provider, regardless of who caused the collision.
The system aims to:
- Simplify and expedite the claims process
- Accelerate insurance payouts to those affected by accidents
- Reduce the number of lawsuits burdening Florida’s legal system
- Lower insurance premiums
The PDL insurance minimum coverage is $10,000. However, this amount may not always cover the costs of damage, so many insurance companies offer a minimum of $25,000. Monthly premiums are not significantly higher, but if an accident occurs, you get more coverage.
- Suppose you accidentally rear-end a car at a red light, causing $4,500 damage. If your limit is $10,000, the insurer will cover the entire cost. However, if the damage is, for example, $10,500, your insurance company will compensate you $10,000, and you’ll have to pay the remaining $500.
Requirements for the minimum policy amount apply not only to state residents but also to tourists and newcomers living in Florida for 90 days or more, working here, or having children attending a Florida school.
What Does PDL Insurance Cover?
PDL insurance covers damage caused by your vehicle to someone else’s car, home, mailbox, fence, etc. With valid PDL coverage, you can expect that in the case of reckless driving, your policy will protect you from paying for repairs to others’ property. However, it is up to the limit you selected when purchasing the insurance.
It’s important to note that PDL does not compensate for damage to your car or health. To protect yourself and your vehicle, you need to purchase additional coverage, such as collision insurance or comprehensive coverage.
What Is PIP Insurance, and What Damage Does It Cover?
Personal Injury Protection is mandatory according to Florida law and 14 other states, providing coverage for injuries to individuals.
It operates regardless of who caused an accident, earning PIP the nickname “no-fault insurance.” The mandatory minimum for PIP coverage is $10,000 based on injuries per person.
This type of insurance covers:
- Medical expenses: PIP covers 80% of medical expenses related to treating injuries from a car accident.
- Loss of income: If you’re temporarily unable to work due to an injury from an accident, PIP covers 60% of your lost wages.
- Funeral expenses: PIP pays up to $5,000 for funeral services in the event of death from a car accident.
- Transportation expenses: Some PIP policies may include reimbursement for expenses related to trips to clinics, laboratories, etc.
Under PIP insurance in Florida, drivers can file a claim for injury compensation only if they have suffered a serious or permanent injury.
It’s important to note that coverage levels and specific conditions may vary depending on the insurance company’s policy. Therefore, carefully review all the features of PIP and PDL insurance offered by your insurance company.
Pros and Cons of PDL Coverage
Like any other type of policy, PDL has advantages and disadvantages that are important to consider before purchasing.
Let’s take a look at the pros of obtaining PDL coverage:
- Affordability: PDL insurance cost is relatively low, making it accessible to various categories of drivers and providing broader financial protection in case of an insurance event.
- Coverage of third-party property: PDL compensates for damage caused in accidents to other vehicles, buildings, fences, and other movable and immovable property.
- Peaceful dispute resolution: The PIP and PDL can streamline the process of damage compensation and help avoid lengthy and complex legal disputes.
But before making a final decision, consider the cons of obtaining PDL coverage:
- Limited coverage: The policy only compensates for damage to the property of other people and does not cover damage to your vehicle or health.
- Insufficient minimum coverage amount: Quite often, the damage amount is much greater than the minimum insurance limit ($10,000). Anything exceeding the compensation amount is the responsibility of the at-fault party.
PDL is an important and mandatory type of auto insurance in Florida. Despite some limitations, this coverage provides essential financial protection in case of an accident. Drivers from other states with significant assets or those seeking additional protection may consider the option of acquiring PIP PDL insurance to ensure reliable coverage in case of an accident.
How To File a Claim for Property Damage
The process is similar to any other type of auto insurance claim. However, the list and sequence of steps may differ depending on your insurance company’s policy.
Traditionally, the procedure looks like this:
- Locate the property owner. After an incident, find the owner of the damaged property and obtain their contact information. If they are not present, consider leaving a note with your name, phone number, provider information, and policy number.
- Document the damage. If safe, document the property damage at the scene with photos and videos.
- Contact your insurance provider. Reach out to your insurance company and report the incident. You’ll be asked to provide some documents, as well as photo or video evidence of the inflicted damage. Then, your claims adjuster will work with the other party to determine repair costs and address the damage caused.
You should also check with your insurance company for any additional requirements.
Leverage PIP and PDL Coverage as a Florida Resident
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) are two mandatory types of insurance in the state of Florida, providing financial protection for your health and the property of third parties in the event of an accident.
While PIP and PDL are often referred to as full insurance, they actually represent only the minimum auto insurance coverage required by Florida law. Therefore, if you want you and your family to be protected in the event of a car accident, consider obtaining additional policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does PDL stand for in insurance?
PDL stands for “Property Damage Liability.” It is a type of auto insurance that covers expenses related to damage to third-party property in the event of an accident.
What is the minimum required amount for PDL?
The minimum required PDL coverage in Florida is set at $10,000.
Will basic no-fault pay for damages to your car?
No, basic no-fault insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle. PIP covers the loss of income and medical costs for you and your passengers, regardless of fault. To protect your car, consider additional insurance policies such as collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.
Victoria Berezhetska is a Content Lead at Phonexa.com and an expert contributor to American REIA. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with extensive working experience as a PR specialist and content writer. At American REIA, she helps customers find the right educational material through easily digestible blog posts and buying guides backing their insurance coverage choice. Victoria covers diverse topics around digital and insurance marketing, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.