Even though most adults who drive have insurance on their vehicle, quite a few people don’t really understand how motor vehicle insurance works or who pays what. Knowing the details of the system may not seem important until you reach a point where you need the coverage because of a crash.

Familiarizing yourself with how Florida’s motor vehicle liability insurance works can help you make better choices about any claim you have after a crash.

Standard policies protect you from liability, not expenses

You have many choices about the kind of insurance you carry and how much protection you want when you purchase your policy. Although your coverage has to meet certain minimum standards set by the state, which include $10,000 in personal injury coverage and $10,000 in property damage coverage, there are other kinds of protection that can also benefit you.

Those standard, required amounts of insurance don’t protect you from the costs you incur in a crash but rather the liability that stems from damages or injuries you cause to other people. If you run a red light and hit someone’s car, your insurance will cover any medical or vehicle repair bills that result.

When the crash is the result of someone else’s actions, that driver’s policy will be the one that pays for your medical costs and property damage. In some cases, you may file the claim with your insurance company, and they will pay those costs on your behalf. The company will then subrogate its costs to the other insurance company involved, passing the costs on to the other driver’s policy.

You can carry protection for special situations

Carrying additional protection in the event of a crash caused by a driver without insurance or for a driver without enough insurance can help ensure that you have protection regardless of the insurance held by the other driver. You may also want to look into carrying medical coverage and adding riders that expand your coverage, often for a tiny increase to your total insurance costs.

Insurance companies have an obligation to meet policy requirements in good faith, but that doesn’t mean they will offer benefits beyond their obligations or even eagerly offer the maximum coverage available. Whether you need to bring a claim against the other driver’s policy for an injury you suffered or your own policy because of property damage caused by an uninsured driver, you could face challenges from the insurance company.