Most states require vehicle owners to carry a minimum amount of Tampa car insurance. Failure to have this insurance is a crime in these states with hefty penalties and possible jail sentences for failure to comply. Also, an owner can't register their vehicle without showing proof of insurance.
The good news is that most reputable insurers have put together packages tailored to the owner's home states, and these packages can be very affordable.
However, is it smart to only carry the minimum amount of insurance required by the state? Does the minimum legal amount give car owners a false sense of security when what they need is realistic coverage?
Quick Survey of State Minimums:
Kansas requires Bodily Injury Liability of $25,000 per person with $50,000 for the accident; Property Damage of $10,000; Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury $25,000 and Personal Injury of $4,500.
Washington requires Bodily Injury Liability of $25,000 per person with $50,000 for the accident; Property Damage of $10,000.
Arizona requires Bodily Injury Liability of $15,000 per person with $30,000 for the accident; Property Damage of $10,000.
Florida requires Property Damage of $10,000 and Personal Injury Protection of $10,000.
New York requires Bodily Injury Liability of $25,000 per person with $50,000 for the accident; Property Damage of $10,000; Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury $25,000 and Personal Injury of $50,000.
Quick Survey of Car Accident Costs:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate in 2010, 32,885 people died and over 2 million people were injured in auto accidents in the United States. Medical costs and lost productivity exceeded $99 billion. The CDC further estimates that only half of this was paid by private insurers. The other half? Some was paid by government programs and some by charities. However, about 25% was paid by those involved in the accident. That means about $25 billion in medical bills comes out of pocket.
If an owner carries the state minimum of $10,000 personal injury in Florida and injures someone, they can be held legally liable for the balance of the medical bills. An airlift to a trauma center can be $25,000 by itself.
And, if the owner is at fault, they can also be held responsible for car repairs. As vehicles become more sophisticated, the repairs become more expensive. When the American Automobile Association (AAA) figured vehicle repair costs into the equation, the CDC number jumped to $163 billion per year. With most states requiring only $10,000 in property damage coverage, a significant amount of repair and replacement risk is being carried by an owner who opts for minimum coverage.
Risk of Assets:
The final consideration is at the heart of insurance - protection of assets. If a car owner causes an injury accident and the insurance limits do not cover the damages, they may find themselves in court. Research into jury verdicts has found that damage awards for auto accident cases involving serious back injuries range from $50,000 to over $400,000. Award on the low end of the scale could wipe out the owner's retirement account or cause loss of their home. Even lower-income owners with no tangible assets can find their wages garnished to pay off a jury award.
Depending on the state minimum insurance amounts, whether as a vehicle owner or an accident victim seeking compensation, it may be a recipe for disaster. Only an experienced insurance agent can help a vehicle owner balance the factors of risk aversion and asset protection against cost. Call Adcock-Adcock Property & Casualty Agency, Inc. at 813-933-6691 to make an appointment to review your state's minimum requirements and tailor a plan that offers real protection in case of an accident.