- 20 Feb
Florida Legislators File Bill to Repeal Personal Injury Protection Requirement
Soon, drivers may be required to carry bodily injury liability coverage as part of their insurance, as legislation was recently filed to eliminate the requirement for personal-injury protection coverage in Florida.
Personal-injury protection coverage is also known as no-fault coverage and is part of car insurance. It deals specifically with medical expenses and any wages lost from lack of work due to injury. This is separate from insurance claims paid to cover damage to vehicles or objects. No-fault coverage has its name because claims are paid regardless of who is at fault in an accident.
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a personal-injury protection reform law in 2012, aimed at reducing premiums. At the time, claims were increasing due to a large amount of fraudulent claims within the system. However, legislators who passed bills to eliminate the requirement say those original reductions have not been seen by the average consumer. From 2012-2014, premiums dropped an average of 14.4 percent, 10 percent less than expected over that time. Since then, rates have instead gone up by 25.7 percent. This rise can be attributed to multiple factors, including increases in medical care, increasing cost of vehicle repair, and higher amounts of distracted drivers due to smartphones and other distractions.
Other issues raised include the fact that the current system requires coverage for $10,000 in medical benefits, which some say is not enough to keep up with rising costs and inflation.
The bill proposes a switch from personal-injury coverage to bodily injury liability coverage, which pays for costs claimed by someone who is injured in an accident. Switching to this type of coverage would create more court cases dealing with accidents, as the question of fault or responsibility would come into question.
While a bill was passed to begin a process of repealing personal-injury protection coverage, some believe that it is not the correct course of action. While premiums have increased, the rate of fraud has dropped in recent years and no-fault coverage has led to a guarantee that doctors and emergency rooms are paid when treating victims, instead of long court proceedings stalling pay. As well, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act means that taking the large action of repeal may have unforeseen consequences.
Finally, it is uncertain what the minimum required coverage may be if a switch to bodily injury liability coverage occurs. If law requires a high amount of coverage, it could lead to higher premiums for consumers, dwarfing the increased rates seen in the current market.
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