The original efforts to ditch the no-fault auto insurance system in Florida occurred in 2012, championed by Governor Rick Scott and Jeff Atwater, the Chief Financial Officer. However, the efforts didn’t make it very far at that point. Now, they are moving forward once again.
If the plan is successful, then the majority of drivers in Florida would receive small savings on the auto insurance policies they have. However, those who only have the minimum coverage amount – either by choice or because they can’t afford anything more – would likely face higher rates under the two proposals that are gaining traction in the Legislature.
What are the Costs?
Under the House plan, drivers who are currently paying for bodily injury coverage would see their insurance costs by as much as $81 per year, or just under $7 per month.
However, this same plan would increase the costs by as much as $250 per year for those who only carry the absolute minimum amount of insurance required by Florida law. Under the Senate plan, this group of drivers would wind up paying up to $323 more each year. Keep in mind, the number will vary based on the accident rates, the percentage of uninsured drivers and the county’s traffic density.
The Current Insurance System
Right now, drivers and passengers receive personal injury protection (PIP) and car damages paid for up to $10,000 regardless of who is at fault during an accident. The driver will be required to pay additional fees to insurance companies to cover bodily injuries, which provides coverage if they are at-fault in an accident. Keep in mind PIP is required in Florida, but coverage for bodily injury isn’t.
The Goal of the New Laws
The insurance industry is trying to scrap PIP coverage and instead make it a requirement that all motorists carry coverage which includes bodily injury if they happen to be at fault. This would save insurance companies millions of dollars due to questionable claims they are required to pay even if someone is at fault in the accident.
According to the insurance companies, this then causes them to have to increase rates to consumers. The House Bill – HB 1063 – has cleared the first hearing and the Senate proposal – SB 1768 – is still in the consideration phase.
Potential Hurdles to Overcome
The bill still has a few issues to overcome. Hospitals and doctors are prepared to fight if the state decides to eliminate mandatory PIP coverage. If PIP is eliminated, it means that the $10,000 drivers receive to pay medical costs may not be there. That would leave doctors and hospitals with even more unpaid bills to collect on.
The bill has pros and cons from Florida drivers, but only time will tell if it is made law. If you are ever involved in an accident on Florida roadways and suffer an injury because of someone else’s negligence or fault, contact a personal injury attorney. Quality attorneys from Fetterman & Associates can be reached by calling 561-666-9850.
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