If you have been in an accident that has caused injury and damage to your automobile and other property, receiving all of the compensation you are entitled to is important. You pay for car insurance to make sure that your vehicle can be repaired or replaced, medical bills are paid, and other compensation is provided to make yourself whole and move on from the accident.
Unfortunately, in some situations, particularly very serious accidents, you can find yourself in a situation where the amount of damages in your claim exceeds the coverage limits of your insurance carrier. You should know that there are options for this scenario to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. This helpful overview will explain the next steps, the options for compensation, and how an experienced car accident lawyer can help your case.
How often does a claim exceed insurance coverage?
Claims exceeding coverage limits are rare, but it does happen. In Florida, all drivers are legally required to carry some level of auto insurance, including at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP), covering 80% of medical costs. PIP insurance is often called “no-fault” because it provides medical coverage regardless of who caused the accident.
Additionally, Florida law requires $10,000 coverage for property damage liability. Coverage beyond this for medical expenses, personal property damage, and medical and property liability coverage is optional. Your individual risk of coverage being less than your claim largely depends on the limits of your insurance coverage and who is responsible for the accident.
What Happens When a Claim Exceeds Insurance Coverage
If you submit a claim that exceeds coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket to repair or replace your vehicle or any other property you are liable for. Personal medical coverage exceeding PIP limits may need to be paid for by your health insurance or out-of-pocket.
Exceptions would be if the other driver was fully or partially at fault or if there were other mitigating factors causing the accident, including negligence of a business owner, poorly maintained roads or traffic control devices, or vehicle failure due to manufacturing fault.
How Insurance Policy Limits Work
You must pay the carrier a monthly, semi-annual, or annual premium to receive automobile insurance coverage. Your specific coverage limits will depend on the individual policy you purchase from your carrier and the laws in your state. Optional coverage beyond the required minimum in Florida can include extended liability coverage, personal property damage, and personal injury coverage.
Most insurance policies have a deductible of some form, particularly for vehicle damage. When an accident occurs, you will generally pay a deductible out of pocket before the insurance kicks in. Typical deductible amounts are $250, $500, and $1,000, but it will depend on your coverage.
Insured parties are generally responsible for any claim amounts that exceed their policy limits, except in some circumstances.
Options for Compensation When a Claim Exceeds Coverage
The number one option for compensation beyond insurance coverage claim limits is if the other party is partially or totally at fault for the accident. In this case, your insurance carrier will make a claim for the other party for their liability coverage. If the driver is underinsured or uninsured, you can either rely on your uninsured motorist coverage if you have it, or you can file a lawsuit for compensation.
When To Speak With an Attorney
If you are in an accident and the claim amount exceeds your insurance coverage, you should meet with an attorney to review your case. By thoroughly investigating the facts of the case, including potentially mitigating circumstances, an attorney can help you ensure you are being compensated fully and fairly. You can also receive assistance staying on top of critical deadlines that may impact your claim.
A qualified car accident attorney will also ensure you don’t say anything that may later be used against you by the other driver or their insurance company. Legal assistance can help you know your rights, gather information, and be proactive about your case.
Contact Clark Law for a Free Consultation
The Clark Law team specializes in car accidents and personal injury law and has extensive experience working with insurance carriers and the court system. We understand the tactics companies can use to minimize or even deny otherwise fair claims. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingent fee basis, so we only get paid if you win your case.
Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.