Do auto insurance requirements differ depending on the location where a vehicle is registered?

Requirements related to minimum automobile insurance coverage differ depending on the state where the vehicle is registered. Some states require more liability insurance while others require that uninsured motorist coverage be purchased by the owner of a registered vehicle as well as liability insurance. Some states are considered “no-fault” auto insurance states while others allow a plaintiff to file a lawsuit in the state for a motor vehicle accident against another driver who was at fault even if the injuries incurred by the person who is not at fault are minor. Other states, have a combination of no-fault insurance and full tort lawsuit recovery allowances.

In Florida, where our main office is located, the state requires 10/20/10 coverage. This means that an owner of a vehicle in Florida must have a minimum of $10,000 liability insurance coverage for a person injured due to the negligence of the the insured or any other driver and $20,000 total coverage for the injuries of all individuals hurt as a consequence of the negligence of the insured driver. Also, every owner of a vehicle in the State of Florida must have $10,000 additional liability coverage for repairs to automobiles damaged during an accident. Uninsured motorist coverage automatically matches the liability coverage of an owner of a vehicle unless he or she waives the coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance covers the driver and his passengers of a registered vehicle who are injured due to the negligence of a third person driving a vehicle who has no liability insurance. It is a wise decision for every owner of a vehicle in the State of Florida not to waive the uninsured motorist coverage because a large number of drivers in the state, according to statistics, have no insurance coverage. The amount of premium paid for this additional uninsured motorist insurance is normally minimal compared to the medical costs and other consequences of failing to have the uninsured motorist protection.

Also, Florida has a no-fault statute which only allows a lawsuit against another driver who has caused an accident with resulting injuries above the PIP coverage when permanent serious scarring is involved as a consequence of the accident, a person is killed, there is a loss of an important bodily function or it can be shown that the injuries are permanent in nature. Otherwise, in an accident situation, insurance carriers for each driver of a vehicle pays for the medical costs up to 80% and loss of wages up to 60% for the driver and his passengers.

In the State of Colorado, however, the law is very different relating to auto insurance requirements. Colorado does not have a no-fault type statute and no threshold requirements such as in the State of Florida where permanent injury, loss of an important bodily function, death, permanent serious scarring or permanent injury is required in order for an injured driver or passenger to sue the driver of another vehicle for negligence in causing an accident. Colorado does have a minimum requirement relating to liability insurance of 25/50/15 which is substantially higher than the limits required by the State of Florida for owners of automobiles registered in the state. However, just as Florida, the State of Colorado automatically requires uninsured motorist insurance protection which matches the liability in dollar amounts, Colorado has the same statute which allows the owner of a motor vehicle to waive the uninsured motorist coverage on insurance policies. Once again, it is a mistake for owners of vehicles to waive the uninsured motorist coverage since it is not an expensive additional coverage and in the last analysis it is well worth the premium for an automobile owner to have this type of insurance.

The laws in the District of Columbia and the State of New York relating to minimum insurance required when a vehicle is registered are almost identical. Both of these jurisdictions have a no-fault statute and require liability insurance for personal injury and property damage in the amounts of 25/50/10. Also, both jurisdictions require uninsured motorist insurance figures which match the liability insurance of an owner of an automobile. Therefore, an insured cannot waive his uninsured motorist protection such as the case in both Colorado and Florida. The policy of not allowing the uninsured motorist waiver of insurance is a sound decision on the part of these two jurisdictions since it really does protect the owner and passengers of vehicles when they are the victims of an accident involving an uninsured motorist who is required to have the same liability insurance but has simply failed to purchase such a policy.

The State of New York relating to its no-fault insurance statute has a larger PIP coverage than the State of Florida for example. In New York, the PIP coverage must include at least $50,000 in injury protection. Both the District of Columbia and the State of New York, since they have a no-fault statute, also have threshold requirements just like in the State of Florida which prohibit the filing of a lawsuit against a driver of another vehicle even though he may be negligent and at fault resulting in the accident unless there is a death involved, serious permanent scarring or disfigurement or loss of an important bodily function or a permanent injury was sustained.

Finally, in another state, Pennsylvania, the law relating to minimum automobile insurance requirements is a combination of both no-fault state statutes and other states such as Colorado where an individual is free to sue a driver of another vehicle if that person is negligent and causes an accident where the plaintiff or passengers are injured even if the injuries are minor. Pennsylvania law requires liability insurance for all vehicles with the limits of 15/30/5. However, owners of a vehicle can choose one of two options for insurance coverage. The first option is that of full tort coverage which allows a party to sue another individual who was driving a vehicle and causes an accident due to his negligence injuring the insured or his passengers. This insurance usually costs 20% more in the State of Pennsylvania then the other alternative which is a no-fault type coverage allowing a person to sue a driver of another vehicle who causes an accident due to his negligence only when there is a serious injury involved, death, loss of an important bodily function or permanent disfigurement. Therefore, Pennsylvania has a combination of insurance minimum coverage requirements similar to both Colorado and Florida. Like Florida and Colorado, Pennsylvania has no uninsured motorist minimum requirement which allows insured parties to waive uninsured motorist insurance. Pennsylvania is totally unlike the State of New York and the District of Columbia with regard to uninsured motorist required insurance.

If you or a member of your family is involved in an automobile accident in Florida, Colorado or New York please contact our office in your state in order to protect your interests and preserve your rights to seek compensation for the injuries you or a passenger in your vehicle has sustained. Please feel free to contact us 24/7 on our toll-free number of (800) 516-0005 for a free consultation relating to any motor vehicle accident in which you are involved. Remember not to discuss the case with an insurance adjuster until you have contacted an attorney who can provide you with an assessment of your legal position and advise you of your rights regarding compensation.