Florida is one of ten states in which personal injury protection insurance (PIP) is a requirement. Personal injury protection, or “no fault” insurance, provides injured drivers with up to $10,000 of immediate medical coverage in place of needing to use the legal system to determine fault.
Reducing Insurance Fraud and Driver Premiums
The state passed HB 119 in 2012 as a means of helping to address auto insurance fraud. Called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for Auto Insurance Fraud, this measure is intended to reduce fraud with the savings passed on to drivers.
Because of this, the state of Florida requires all drivers to purchase personal injury protection insurance. Motorists are held responsible for dealing with any injuries sustained if they are in an auto accident, regardless of who is found at fault. PIP benefits are paid by the policy holder’s insurance company if that person is injured in an accident. This is what is meant by “no-fault.”
Before the personal injury protection insurance system was enacted, Florida motorists paid an average of $180 per year for personal injury protection. The average no-fault payment for the new system is just $125 per year. However, it is not without flaws.
Unfortunately, medical bills for a serious auto accident could range far above $10,000. While all Florida drivers are required to purchase $10,000 worth of personal injury protection insurance, $10,000 is just the minimum. Some drivers elect to purchase additional auto insurance above and beyond the $10,000.
The breakdown of personal injury protection insurance in Florida is 80% of medical bills and 60 percent of the driver’s lost wages with a limit of $10,000. Other details include that those involved in crashes must seek treatment within 14 days. Also, non-emergency conditions are capped at $2,500.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance Minimums Can Fall Short
Any additional expenses in this area must be paid out of pocket by the policy holder, or recovered through legal action from the driver who was at fault for the accident. Personal injury protection insurance covers any injury or accident involving a car, even if you are a pedestrian or riding a bicycle when the accident occurs.
The objective of personal injury protection insurance is to minimize the delay of payment to drivers who sustain an injury. This type of insurance also assists in limiting and minimizing the use of the legal system and courts to resolve these matters.
Unfortunately, it has been estimated that more than half of Florida drivers have just the minimum amount of required personal injury protection insurance. Some are underinsured and others have no insurance at all, which is illegal. One way to guard against this is by having Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist coverage added to one’s auto insurance policy.
Mixed Results for Florida
While the number of Florida drivers and accidents in the state has been about the same in recent years, the number of personal injury protection insurance claims and payments has risen. In fact, the National Insurance Crime Bureau lists several Florida cities as having some of the highest numbers of “questionable claims” in the country.
The personal injury protection insurance premium is just two percent of premiums collected; however, it accounts for around 50 percent of the insurance fraud in the state.
Despite its issues, it is not likely that legislators will make changes to the law anytime soon. The legislature and state chief financial officer are calling for patience to allow the personal injury protection insurance measures to start showing their ability to reduce the net effect of insurance fraud in the state. While some bugs and kinks may need to be worked out, the objective is for a reduction in fraud, and the state is optimistic that these results will be achieved.
Legal Assistance May Be Required
While there has been a reduction in personal injury protection insurance claims sought, claims in other areas such as uninsured motorist and bodily injury have increased. Changes may be made to existing PIP laws as they are fine-tuned, and the goal is to have an even more positive effect on Florida residents.
Despite the good intentions of the personal injury protection insurance plan in Florida, it simply does not adequately cover all drivers. With the rising costs of medical care today, many injured drivers require far more than $10,000 to cover their post-accident bills.
The balance must be sought in the form of a judgment against the at-fault driver. If this applies to you, be sure to seek the counsel of a qualified attorney in order to make sure you are well-represented.