Florida lawmakers appear to be making a move toward repealing the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. If this repeal does indeed take place, it will have outsized implications on auto accidents in the state.
On April 19, 2017, Florida lawmakers passed legislation to get rid of the state’s no-fault insurance, known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP. This landmark legislation seeks to undo a form of auto insurance that has existed for 50 years, in spite of the fact that previous unsuccessful repeal attempts have been made.
Here is a closer look at what a PIP repeal could mean for Florida drivers.
A Closer Look at the Ramifications of Repealing PIP
The purpose of PIP insurance is designed to ensure that part of a driver’s auto insurance covers $10,000 in medical expenses, irrespective of who caused the accident. Despite this intent, Florida has one of the highest uninsured motorist rates in the United States, with a 2009 Insurance Research Council study finding that 23% of Florida’s drivers are uninsured.
Under the new bill, drivers will now be required to have bodily-injury coverage instead of PIP coverage, and most Florida drivers already have bodily-injury coverage. Lawmakers who support this move highlight that PIP is woefully out of date.
The $10,000 requirement under PIP has not changed since it was first required in 1979, leaving it unable to address the costs of today’s medical care after an accident. Additionally, lawmakers believe this change will save Florida drivers approximately $81 per year on their insurance policy since 90% of Florida motorists already have bodily-injury coverage that will now become mandatory.
Opponents of this change, however, are concerned that a PIP repeal could lead to uncertain scenarios concerning who picks up the immediate medical expenses post-accident. Since PIP is a no-fault form of insurance, there is immediate coverage for those who are injured in a crash, providing beneficial peace of mind. Another PIP benefit is that drivers can choose an insurance plan that covers lost wages due to medical rehab and/or hospitalization.
Despite these PIP advantages, it seems Florida is well on its way toward a repeal. Lawmakers appear to be aiming for lower cost premiums that still require more overall coverage. Starting in 2018, according to the Senate proposal, Florida drivers will be required to have $20,000 in personal bodily-injury coverage and another $40,000 for multi-person bodily-injury coverage.
These minimum requirements will grow to $25,000 and $50,000 in 2020, prior to jumping up to $30,000 and $60,000, respectively, by 2022. Finally, Floridians will also have to obtain $5,000 in medical payments coverage, which behaves similarly to the no-fault component of PIP.
In sum, big changes are headed to Florida’s auto insurance, which could mean lower premiums for Florida drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, talk to Destin auto accident lawyer John F. Greene.
From his Destin office, John represents accident victims in Destin as well as injured parties in Northwest Florida and the Emerald Coast, including Santa Rosa, Walton, Bay and Okaloosa Counties. John also represents injured parties in the communities of Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City and Santa Rosa Beach.
If you need a Florida auto accident lawyer who provides victims with the representation needed to receive legal compensation for injuries, contact Destin defense attorney John F. Greene or call 850-424-6833.